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ERIC Number: ED450431
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Feb
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"You Get Pushed Back": The Social Construction of Educational Success and Failure and Its Implications for Educational Reform.
Fassett, Deanna L.
One of Matt Groening's popular cartoons offers two different perspectives regarding the purpose and value of formal education in America: "Bongo's" belief that a good education must consist of an engaging classroom environment and proper emotional, intellectual, and structural resources; and "Bongo's" father's belief that a good education is a completed education. The way in which these two characters engage in discussions of education is not all that different from the ways in which student participants (two groups of students enrolled in an introductory speech communication course and two groups of graduate teaching assistants enlisted to teach the introductory communication course) in a study engaged such discussions, or even, for that matter, the way in which any set of two or more people might discuss educational issues. This paper seeks to illuminate the processes by which mundane understandings of educational success and failure may complicate educational reform. Findings demonstrate that participants: (1) did not offer stable and uniform definitions of educational success and non-success, suggesting that these experiences are constructs, built rather than given; (2) in (re)constructing their definitions of educational success and nonsuccess, articulated understandings of themselves as apart from or outside the creation and maintenance of social systems; (3) in establishing a sense of themselves as apart from the workings of social systems, seemed to create for themselves a sense of personal empowerment; (4) while they worked to articulate their individual agency, constructed definitions which served to reinscribe the power of those social forces they perceive to be beyond their control; and (5) by communicating in ways that elide their participation in social systems, ensured that they are unable to change those systems. Contains 6 notes and 42 references. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A