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ERIC Number: ED407193
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct-13
Pages: 50
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Working Memory: An Ethnographic Case Study of the Influence of Culture on Education.
Lawrence, Barbara Kent
This report overviews the rationale for conducting an ethnographic study of cultural factors that influence student aspiration in Tremont, a small rural community on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Although Tremont is the poorest community on Mount Desert Island, Tremont students scored as well or better on the Maine Educational Assessment than did students from more affluent communities. However, although the high school graduation rate of Tremont students is high, relatively few students go on to postsecondary education. This report details the process of an ethnographic case study and summarizes several anthropological and sociological theories about rural communities and their culture. Tentative conclusions include: cultural anthropology can identify factors that affect the way students learn; ethnography is useful in understanding the ways in which a particular culture affects students; triangulating ethnography with a quantitative approach provides useful data for policy development; the close connection between Tremont and its elementary school reflects the integrity and homogeneity of the community; the local culture of Tremont does not value postsecondary education as highly as secondary education; tensions divide year-round residents and summer residents; the availability of "inherited jobs" such as caretaking and fishing deter some students from seeking postsecondary education; cultural norms and values influence students' decisions about postsecondary education; and cultural differences between teachers and students make it difficult for them to appreciate each other. Appendices include information on workers in Tremont, valuation and tax spending of Mount Desert Island communities, dropout rates for Mount Desert Island communities, and student intentions to pursue postsecondary education. Includes tables, graphs, and a bibliography. (LP)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A