ERIC Number: ED382998
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-May
Reference Count: N/A
What's School about for Kids?: Meanings and Uses of Homework in Young People's Lives. Families, Literacy, and Schooling: Final Report.
Scharf, Amy; Stack, Carol
An ethnographic study used a multidimensional social perspective on learning and literacy to look at the educational experiences and perspectives of urban young people through an examination of student homework. Subjects, upwards of 40 young people, were drawn from four sites: a sixth-grade classroom at Woodside Elementary School (located in a middle-class residential neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area, California); Families and School Together (FAST), an after-school tutoring program which serves mostly African-American students at Colton Middle School; the homes of three students; and small friendship groups. Results indicated that homework is neither a stable nor a static thing. It moves through space, from school to home and home to school. Homework also travels through time, reaching both backward and forward with its promises, evaluations, and consequences. Results also indicated that young people's attitudes and identities were, in many ways, forged around homework as a contested field of meaning and practice. On the one hand, beliefs and actions were shaped by various personal, educational, and social significances of school-sent-home. at the same time, what young people thought and did, fed back into these realms of meaning, helping to define and create homework itself. Findings suggest an important discrepancy: while school and teachers view kids' classroom experiences as focused primarily on academic learning, young people themselves are engaged in a multifaceted negotiation of identity, position and future. (Includes 20 notes; contains 50 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy, Berkeley, CA.; National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy, Pittsburgh, PA.
Identifiers: African Americans; California (San Francisco Bay Area)