ERIC Number: ED216565
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: N/A
Institutionalized Psychology and the Ethnography of Schooling.
McDermott, Ray P.; Hood, Lois
Ethnographers generally allow educational psychology to define research problems, to set limits on what they can study, and to dictate some key theoretical concepts. As a consequence, lacunae in descriptions of complexities in the intellectual lives of children have not been filled in by ethnographers. Problems in the focus and methods of educational psychology are in the background of this situation. Educational psychology focuses on individual differences; its method limits it to silence or guesswork about the intellectual lives of children in homes and schools. The language of educational psychology defines the problems ethnographers describe, but ethnographers have not attended to descriptions of what intellectual events are about. Educational psychology can be a danger to ethnography if it is allowed to dictate key concepts in the description of schooling, particularly indiscriminate use of the notion of competence. The ethnographer's task should be to produce data that directly describe the organization of adequate and inadequate intellectual performance in schools. This task cannot be left to psychology alone. Once ethnographers look more carefully at learning situations, the unit of analysis linking ethnography and cognitive psychology will be not the individual but concerted activity across persons. (AMH)
Descriptors: Competence, Cultural Context, Educational Psychology, Elementary Education, Ethnography, Intellectual Development, Interaction, Research Design, Schools
Not available separately; see FL 012 948.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A