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Title: Children's experience of the rituals of schooling : a case study
Author: Xiao, Jiamei
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2008
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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
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB Theory and practice of education ; L Education (General)