Researching educational inequalities through classroom talk

Dr Julia Snell presents a workshop on education, interventions and the reproduction of inequalities - part of the Researching Inequalities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives IRN/SSP workshop series.

Dr. Julia Snell ( School of English, University of Leeds) will be presenting Researching educational inequalities through classroom talk:

Numerous studies internationally have demonstrated the powerful correlation between social class and success in school. There are many possible explanations for social reproduction (e.g. parental attention, material conditions, low expectations, discriminatory practices, anti-school counter-culture), but my research focuses on one factor in detail: language.

Existing research on language and social reproduction typically focuses on the language gap between lower and higher socioeconomic strata (e.g. Hart and Risley 1995, 2003; see also Duncan et al., 1998; Farkas & Beron, 2004). Although motivated by a social justice agenda, such works promote a ‘gap discourse’ (McCarty, 2015) that echoes problematic deficit language ideologies dating back to the work of Bernstein in the 1960s (Bernstein 1964).

One alternative is to investigate how the relationship between class, language, and academic success is mediated by classroom interaction. In taking up this agenda, I will present findings from my previous research (with Adam Lefstein), which has shown that teachers’ expectations and implicit biases may affect the way they interact with pupils and lead to differential treatment. My aim in presenting these findings is to open up discussion around potential future interdisciplinary research in this area.

All welcome, booking not required.

Location details

Room 12.21 and 12.25
Social Sciences Building
University of Leeds

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