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ERIC Number: ED380440
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Changing Roles in a Classroom: An Attempt That Didn't Work.
Ensign, Jacque
In an attempt to analyze the success or failure of school reform efforts, this study looked closely at student and teacher interactions in one elementary classroom where a "democratic" approach was being implemented. The study used Victor Turner's work on rituals to analyze one episode in a third-grade classroom (one student sucked on a lollipop during the Pledge of Allegiance). Eating was treated as a metaphor for the larger issue of social order. The student's eating any time he wished implied no order or discipline and hence, in terms of ritual theory, he appeared anarchic and dangerous. Rituals, including formal schooling, demand attention to order and norms. The analysis concluded that this attempt to institute more egalitarian roles failed and illustrated the discouraging prospects for school reform. In this classroom, the larger traditional and hierarchical social norms of the United States overrode the teacher's attempts to bring about egalitarian social relations, a fact that cast doubt on the likely success of some types of school reform. The paper argues that an effective democratic classroom in the 1990s could be more effective if it recognized the utility of hierarchy and sought to use hierarchical relations in a positive way to instill a modified egalitarianism which fosters authentic relationships among members of the classroom, thus enhancing education. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A