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ERIC Number: ED422426
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Power, Discipline and Minority Students in High School.
Partington, Gary
In Western Australia the suspension rate for Aboriginal students is double what could be expected on a population basis, and their exclusion rate is over seven times higher. In schools in Western Australia the act of removal from the classroom is widely practiced, and the process has been formalized to shift responsibility from the teachers to the students. Alternative narratives, particularly those of students enmeshed in the behavior management system of the school, are seldom heard because they represent a threat to the veneer of orderly practice at the school. The research described in this paper was conducted in a metropolitan school in which Aboriginal students represented about 15% of the student population. When an Aboriginal student was removed from the classroom, interviews were conducted with the student and the teacher. In all, 22 separate incidents were investigated by Aboriginal and nonAboriginal interviewers. Three of these incidents are explored in depth. The classrooms in which these events took place were sites of struggle rather than hegemonic structures in which the teacher ruled over the students. The relationship between the teacher and students varied considerably, but a common theme in the teacher interviews was the fear of losing control and there was frequent evidence of that control being quite tenuous. In this study, most of the behaviors that resulted in the sanction of being sent from the classroom were trivial, especially talking during class. They were usually perceived by the students to be trivial, and this recognition led the students to question the fairness of a system that imposed severe sanctions on what is normal social behavior. In many cases, teachers were characterized by an unwillingness to acknowledge the validity of student experience. (Contains 26 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia