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ERIC Number: EJ1049434
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Help-Seekers and Silent Strugglers: Student Problem-Solving in the Elementary Classrooms
Calarco, Jessica
American Educator, v38 n4 p24-27, 30-31, 44 Win 2014-2015
Jessica Calarco explains in this article that students from different backgrounds tend to manage problems in contrasting ways that can have real consequences in the classroom. More specifically, Calarco observed children from middle-class families tended to actively seek help from their teachers, while children from working-class families generally tried to manage problems on their own. The author found that they did so because of contrasting lessons they learned at home, with parents coaching them to adopt class-based understandings of the "appropriate" way to problem solve. These different approaches, however, did not automatically generate inequalities, rather, inequalities resulted when responses to children's class-based problem-solving strategies were addressed in different ways. Calarco recommends, teachers be cognizant of this and make clear their expectations for fielding questions in the classroom. They can also reassure their students that questions will not result in reprimand, that directions cannot cover all situations, and that confusion is normal. When teachers remain aware of the differences that students bring with them to school, the better the playing field to prevent student's social class backgrounds from determining who receives support in managing challenges at school.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A