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Children’s experience of the rituals of schooling: a case study

Xiao, Jiamei (2008) Children’s experience of the rituals of schooling: a case study. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    This research is concerned with children’s experience of the repeated procedures and
    activities in schooling, for example, registration, dismissal, assembly, discipline and
    sanctions. Built on a critical review of previous studies on school ritual, the current
    investigation deals with two sets of issues: ritual in the context of schooling, and
    children’s experiences of the rituals of schooling. Without being initially constrained
    by any theoretical framework or any particular conceptualisations of ‘ritual’, the
    research emphasises the exploration of real-life phenomena, and attempts in this way
    to achieve better understanding of children’s experience of the ritual aspects of school
    life.
    A case study is carried out with a Year Four class in an English primary
    school. Detailed classroom observations and extensive group interviews with children
    are employed for the inquiry. Children’s experience of routines, collective activities
    and classroom management are depicted through the researcher’s observation and by
    their own accounts through interviews. Focusing on registration, dismissal, assembly,
    class organization and grouping, discipline, the teacher’s instructions, children’s
    attention-seeking, and children’s distractions and disruptions, the current research
    provides an in-depth examination of the normal life of the classroom, putting
    children’s everyday schooling experience under the microscope in order to identify
    and analyse its authentic significance.
    The inquiry falls into three stages in its exploration of children’s experience of
    the everyday realities of life. Firstly, normal teacher-child interactions and children’s
    responses to their trivial everyday experiences and the fleeting moments that are
    usually ignored or taken for granted by adults are examined through detailed
    observation and critical reflection by the researcher. Secondly, the children’s accounts
    and descriptions in their interviews gradually present their own versions of the
    ‘normal day’, thus revealing the way they themselves understand schooling, the
    teacher’s role and relationships among themselves, as well as the specific aspects of
    school life in question. The final step in the researcher’s interpretation identifies three
    different but co-existing responses on the part of the children to the rituals of
    schooling: acceptance, resistance and reflectiveness. The research arrives at an
    understanding of children as autonomous or potentially autonomous agents against a
    backdrop of the taken-for-granted ‘structuring’ power of the rituals of schooling

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
    L Education > L Education (General)
    Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
    Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Briony Heyhoe
    Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2008 11:44
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:28
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/2624

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