Artigo – Educational relationships and their impact on poverty
Posted by Alberto Costa em 13 Abril, 2007
This paper will report on research that explores the premise that children in poverty are disadvantaged in their potential to learn by the extent and quality of their social networks and educational relationships. The aim of the research is to examine the quality and sustainability of educational relationships between children and adults in different sites of learning. We build a theoretical argument to suggest that children with a greater number of successful, formal and informal, educational relationships stand a better chance of success in terms of on-going learning and rewarding employment. The research uses qualitative and interpretive approaches in an innovative child-centred way. It probes children’s agency in developing and sustaining educational relationships with adults and the constraints on their ability to use that agency in negotiating more formal educational settings. We explore educational relationships both in and out of school and compare and contrast the educational relationships experienced by children in poverty with a matched sample of those in more affluent circumstances. In doing so, we hope to; illuminate the nature and extent of educational relationships in supporting the children’s engagement with learning, identify perceived gaps in their experience and capture their explanations as to the cause. The study challenges government thinking that the effectiveness of education can only be demonstrated by measured outcomes. Learning how to develop and sustain relationships, how to work with others, make use[?][?]of, and build on other’s expertise is equally, if not more important in improving life chances and these are the skills much demanded by employers (MacBeath, 2000). The research will contribute to the understanding of the relationships that support the learning of children in poverty and the barriers that obstruct their development. This research has been designed as a pilot study. 48 children from both urban and rural schools will be interviewed during the spring of 2006 and invited to create visual maps of their learning networks in and out of school. These maps will be used to focus the discussion on their perceptions of the role of adults in these networks. The interviews will explicate the extent, nature, mediation and fulfilment of the relationships that have educational content, formal or informal. It is anticipated that these findings will inform a larger extended study to include ways in which schools can develop educational relationships to better the life chances of children in poverty (author abstract).