ERIC Number: ED192910
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Resource Allocation in the Classroom: Children's Developing Understandings of Distributive Justice.
Mergendoller, John R.
This discussion explores children's understanding of the nature of distributive justice in classrooms and provides an initial model for further research. The issue of distributive justice arises in a situation when an individual assesses the fairness of the distribution of any limited resource, such as the physical, instructional and social opportunities present within schools. It appears that the understanding of distributive justice by children requires that they coordinate three domains of knowledge: (1) consequences of resource allocation; (2) criteria of deservingness; and (3) schemas which define fairness. Exploratory, semi-structured interviews were conducted among 25 children in a mixed kindergarten/first grade classroom and a mixed third/fourth grade classroom. The interview data indicate that children know the consequences of resource allocation and that they also know what resources and how much of a resource they and others will receive as a result of a distribution. Criteria for deserving consist of attributes of individuals. Findings suggest that children attempt to coordinate consequences of resource allocation with criteria of deservingness. Further, children apparently employ formal reasoning as well as substantive declarations to justify the fairness of the relationship between resource allocation and deservingness. Three areas for further inquiry are specified in the conclusion. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, San Francisco, CA.
Identifiers: Distributive Justice; Human Ecology
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 7-11, 1980).