Dimensions of difference
Dimensions are often used to recognise social differences in people’s lives. The readings in this section focus on eight key dimensions, exploring how they shape the educational experiences of children and young people. These are: social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, physical appearance, disability and learning. However, it is important to recognise that these often overlap and so the grouping of texts below is primarily a means of organising the resources.
Social Class - There is an increasingly large bodies of literature available with regard to the first set of readings which concerns social class as a ‘dimension of difference’. A comprehensive account of social class advantages and disadvantages, reaching beyond the classroom, is presented in:
- Reid, I. (1998) Class in Britain, Cambridge: Polity.
The following books examine how patterns of class advantage and disadvantage are reproduced through education:
- Sharp, R. and Green, A. (1975) Education and Social Control, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
- Lareau, A. (1989) Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education, London: Falmer.
- Reid, I. (1989) Social Class Differences in Britain: Life Chances and Life Styles, London: Fontana.
- Ball, S. (2002) Class Strategies and the Education Market: The Middle Classes and Social Advantage, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Reay, D. (1998) Class Work: Mother’s Involvement in Children’s Schooling, London: University College Press.
- Jackson, P. and Marsden, D. (1962) Education and the Working Class. London: Ark.
- Evans, G. (2006) Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain. Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.
- Willis, P. E. (1977) Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs. Farnborough: Saxon House.
- Feinstein, L. Duckworth, K. and Sabates, R. (2008) Education and the Family: Passing Success across the Generations. Abingdon: Routledge.
Ethnicity: The second set of readings concern ethnicity as a ‘dimension of difference’. Again, there is a large volume of relevant literature, and the following offers just a selection:
David Gillborn uses ‘critical race theory’ to examine the role of racism across the education system as a whole - from national policies to decision-making in schools and classrooms about discipline and academic selection.
- Gillborn, D. (2008) Racism and Education: Coincidence Or Conspiracy? Abingdon: Routledge.
Paul Connolly provides a fascinating account of the social relationships by exploring young children’s perspectives on racism, gender and identity.
- Connolly, P. (1998) Racism, Gender & Identities of Young Children: Social Relations in a Multi-ethnic, Inner-city Primary School, London: Routledge.
For further writings on ethnicity, see:
- Mac an Ghaill, M. (1988) Young, Gifted and Black. Buckingham: Open University Press
- Griffiths, M. and Troyna, B. (1995) Antiracism, Culture and Social Justice in Education, Stoke-on-Trent; Trentham.
- Brown, C., Barnfield, J., and Stone, M. (1995) Spanner in the Works: Education for Racial Equality and Social Justice in White Schools, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Richardson, R. and Wood, A. (1999) Inclusive Schools, Inclusive Society: Race and Identity on the Agenda, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Troyna, B. and Hatcher, R. (1992) Racism in Children’s Lives: A Study of Mainly White Primary Schools, London: Routledge.
- Wright, C. (1992) Race Relations in the Primary School, London: David Fulton.
- Nehaul, K. (1996) The Schooling of Children of Caribbean Heritage, Stoke-on-Trent; Trentham.
- Williams, D. (2009) Mixed Matters: White/Black Pupils and their schooling, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham
- Elton-Chalcraft, S. (2009) It's Not Just About Black and White Miss: Children's Awareness of Race, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Walters, S. (2011) Ethnicity, Race and Education. London: Continuum.
The following books discuss approaches to bringing about changes in the cultures of classrooms, schools and their wider communities:
- Dadzie, S. (2000) Toolkit for Tackling Racism in Schools, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Epstein, D. (1993) Changing Classroom Cultures: Anti-racism, Politics and Schools, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
- Grugeon, E. and Woods, P. (1990) Educating All: Multicultural Perspectives in the Primary School, London: Routledge.
- Massey, I. (1991) More Than Skin Deep: Developing Multicultural Education in Schools, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
- Nieto, S. (2009) The Light in their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, New York: Teacher College Press.
Issa and Williams provide an insight into community schools and Saturday schools, through complementary schooling for black communities and bilingual children:
- Issa, T. and Williams, C. (2008) Realising Potential: Complementary Schools in the UK, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
The next two readings that discuss the raising of achievement among minority ethnic pupils with a particular emphasis on bilingual teaching and developing multiculturalism:
- Gardner, P. (2002) Strategies and Resources for Teaching and Learning in Inclusive Classrooms, London: David Fulton.
- Wrigley, T. (2000) The Power to Learn: Stories of Success in the Education of Asian and Other Bilingual Pupils, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books
The following book have responded to concerns about the education of refugee children and children of asylum seekers:
- Rutter, J. (2004) Refugee Children in the UK, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Rutter, J. (2003) Supporting Refugee Children in 21st Century Britain: A Compendium Of Essential Information (New and Revised Edn.), Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Cohen, S. (2003) No-One is Illegal: Immigration Control And Asylum, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Pinson, H., Arnot, M. and Candappa, M. (2010) Education, Asylum and the 'Non-Citizen' Child: The Politics of Compassion and Belonging. London: Routledge.
Ofsted inspections incorporate a focus on the achievements of minority ethnic pupils, and since the Stephen Lawrence case, they now monitor how schools tackle racism. Read the following report and then the book by Osler and Morrison which discusses Ofsted’s strengths and weaknesses in carrying out this responsibility:
- Ofsted (1999) Raising the Attainment of Minority Ethnic Pupils: School and LEA Responses, London: Ofsted Publications Centre.
- Osler, A. and Morrison, M. (2000) Inspecting Schools for Race Equality: Ofsted's Strengths and Weaknesses, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
Two DfES initiatives and their related publications are also of relevance to this section. In conjunction with the National Children's Bureau the DfES have produced a report which represents the views of minority ethnic pupils on the education system and their suggestions for improvements. The department also have a consultation document on strategies for raising the achievement of ethnic minority children:
- DfES (2003) Minority Ethnic Attainment and Participation in Education and Training: The Evidence, DfES Publications.
- DfES, (2003) Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Minority Ethnic Pupils: Summary of responses, DfES web site.
Some relevant web sites:
- http//www.britkid.org - This is a teaching resource for dealing with issues of multicultural education.
- http://www.runnymedetrust.org - The Runnymede Trust have a mission 'to create a society where shared identity and a common sense of belonging go hand in hand with a love of diversity'
- http://www.cre.gov.uk - The site for the Commission for Racial Equality.
Gender - The third set of readings in this section focus on gender as a ‘dimension of difference’. Once again there is an large volume of relevant literature of which the following is just a selection. First, a number of classic texts:
- Delamont, S. (1990) Sex Roles and the School, London: Routledge.
- Golombok, S. and Fivush, R. (1994) Gender Development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Francis, B. and Skelton, C. (2001) Investigating Gender: Contemporary Perspectives in Education, Buckingham: Open University Press.
· Francis, B. (2000) Boys, Girls and Achievement: Addressing the Classroom Issues, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
· Evans, T. (1988) A Gender Agenda: A Sociological Study of Teachers, Parents and Pupils in their Primary Schools, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
- Arnot, M. David, M. and Weiner, G. (1999) Closing the Gender Gap: Postwar Education and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Other more recent publications include:
- Dillabough, J. M. (2010) Troubling Gender in Education, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Ringrose, J. (2013) Postfeminist Education?: Girls and the Sexual Politics of Schooling, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Fuller, C. L. (2009) Sociology, Gender and Educational Aspirations: Girls and their Ambitions, London: Continuum.
- Armstrong, V. (2011) Technology and the Gendering of Music Education, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.
- Ashley, M. and Lee, J. (2003) Women Teaching Boys: Caring and Working in the Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Osler, A. (2003) Girls and Exclusion: Rethinking the Agenda, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Arnot, M. and Mac an Ghaill, M. (2006) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Gender and Education, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Francis, B. Skelton, C. and Read, B. (2012) The Identities and Practices of High Achieving Pupils: Negotiating Achievement and Peer Cultures. London: Continuum.
- Ivinson, G. and Murphy, P (2007) Rethinking Single Sex Teaching. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Skelton, C. and Francis, B. (2009) Feminism and ‘The Schooling Scandal’. London: Routledge.
The following texts examine the apparent underachievement of boys:
- Lingard, B., Martino, W. and Mills, M. (2009) Boys and Schooling: Beyond Structural Reform. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Younger, M., Warrington, M. & McLellan, R. (2005) Raising Boys’ Achievement in Secondary Schools: Issues, Dilemmas and Opportunities. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Warrington, M; Younger, M & Bearne, E. (2006) Raising Boys’ Achievements in Primary Schools: Towards a Holistic Approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
A particular focus on boys’ education, and increasing research interest in masculinities in schools, has given rise to a number of publications. Some of these argue strongly that this new focus must not undermine improvements in girls' achievements. See:
- Skelton, C. (2001) Schooling the Boys: Masculinities and Primary Education, Buckingham: Open University Press.
- Noble, C. & Bradford, W. (2000) Getting it Right for Boys… and Girls, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Cruddas, L. and Haddock, L. (2003) Girls' Voices: Supporting Girls' Learning and Emotional Development, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Jackson, C. (2006) Lads and Ladettes in School, Maidenhead, Open University Press.
- Thornton, M. and Bricheno, P. (2006) Missing Men in Education, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
A particular concern with gender during the early years of school and lower primary age groups is evident in:
- Lloyd, B. and Duveen, G. (1992) Gender Identities and Education: The Impact of Starting School, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
- Browne, N. and France, P. (1986) Untying the Apron Strings, Buckingham: Open University Press.
- Davies, B. (1993) Shards of Glass: Children Reading and Writing Beyond Gendered Identities, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
- Yelland, N. (1998) Gender in Early Childhood, London: Routledge.
- Connolly, P. (2004) Boys and Schooling in the Early Years, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Two books written by teachers about their pupils’ perspectives on gender are:
- Gallas, K. (1998) ‘Sometimes I can be anything’: Power, Gender and Identity in a Primary Classroom, London: Teachers College Press.
- Paley Gussin, V. (1984) Boys and Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Another book with a strong emphasis on pupils’ own gender experiences is:
- Francis, B. (1998) Power Plays: Primary School Children’s Constructions of Gender, Power, and Adult Work, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
Two books concerned with gender and management in schools are:
- Coleman, M. (2002) Women as Headteachers: Striking the Balance, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Drake, P. & Owen, P. (1998) Gender and Management Issues in Education: An International Perspective, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
The following book by Myers and colleagues aims to help schools address gender equality issues:
- Myers, K., Adler, S., Leonard, D. and Taylor, H. (2007) Genderwatch: Still Watching, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
For a research-based investigation into children’s literacy habits, both at home and in school, that identifies an association between gender roles and attitudes to reading and writing see:
- Millard, E. (1997) Differently Literate: Boys, Girls and the Schooling of Literacy, London: Falmer.
Sexuality - The fourth set of readings in this section provide a basis for exploring sexuality as a ‘dimension of difference’ for both teachers and pupils in schools. The first provides a wider educational context as it includes Higher Education settings as well as schools. The second is based on interviews with pupils and teachers providing an analysis of the links between gender and sexuality and their influence on school processes.
- Epstein, D., O’Flynn, S. and Telford, D. (2002) Silenced Sexualities in Schools and Universities, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Kehily, M. J. (2002) Sexuality, Gender and Schooling: Shifting Agendas in Social Learning, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Renold, E. (2004) Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Epstein, D. (ed.) (1994) Challenging Lesbian and Gay Inequalities in Education, Buckingham: Open University Press.
- DePalma, R. and Atkinson, E. (Eds) (2009) Interrogating heteronormativity in Primary Schools: The Work of the No Outsiders Project. Staffs: Trentham Book Ltd.
Age - The fifth ‘dimension of difference’ considered in this section relates to the age of learners. Research in the philosophy, history, psychology and sociology of childhood has repeatedly demonstrated how children's perspectives, activities and rights are structured, ignored or constrained by adults. See for example:
· Archard, D. and McLeod, C. M. (2002) The Moral and Pollitical Status of Children. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
· James, A. and James, A. L. (2004) Constructing Childhood: Theory, Policy and Social Practice, Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan.
· Miller, J. (1997) Never Too Young: How Young Children can take Responsibility and Make Decisions. London: Save the Children.
Conceptions of children as being either ‘innocent' or ‘corrupt' can be found in popular culture and public policy, with the associated adult responses of both protection and moralizing. See:
· Aries, P. (1962) Centuries of Childhood, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
· Cunningham, H. (2006) The Invention of Childhood, London: BBC Books.
In the past, teachers have been accused of constraining children because of a misplaced adherence to linear assumptions about progress or achievement. Readings given in the section on Learning in Chapter 1 will be helpful here. See for example:
- Hart, S., Dixon, A., Drummond, M. J. & McIntyre, D. (2004) Learning without Limits. Maidenhead: Open University Press. (Reading 1.4)
More commonly within the profession today, a view of children and young people as active agents, interacting, or co-creating their own childhoods is accepted. See for example:
- Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. and Pence, A. (eds) (1999) Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Postmodern Perspectives. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Mayall, B. (2002) Towards a Sociology for Childhood: Thinking from Children’s Lives. Milton Keynes: Open University.
- John, M. (2003) Children’s Rights and Power: Charging Up for a New Century. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Finally, how the accident of birth date combined with the start of the school year produces age effects on academic attainment that can be traced throughout primary and secondary school is considered in:
- Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Maghir, C. (2007) When you are Born Matters: The impact of Date of Birth on Child Cognitive Outcomes. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Physical appearance - The sixth ‘dimension of difference’ considered in this section is the physical appearance of learners. In the 1960s and 1970s studies indicated that children’s attractiveness was significantly associated with how intelligent a teacher expected a child to be; for example:
- Clifford, M. M. and Walster, E. (1973) The effect of physical attractiveness of teacher expectation, Sociology of Education, 42, (6), 248-58.
More recently Frances offers a compelling study of the social and psychological challenges encountered by children and young people who have facial disfigurements, and their experiences of schools:
- Frances, J. (2004) Educating Children with facial disfigurement: creating inclusive school communities. Routledge Falmer: London
Disability - the seventh ‘dimension of difference’ considered in this section relates to disability. Understanding disability as a question of rights and opportunities has developed significantly in recent years and, particularly through the research and activism of disabled people. The following texts examine how understandings of disability have shifted from a deficit model based to an examination of the role of social policies and practices.
- Barton, L. (ed.) (2001) Disability, Politics and the Struggle for Change. London: David Fulton.
- Oliver, M. (2009) (2nd edition) Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, C. Thomas (eds.) (2007) Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments. Los Angeles: Sage.
- Schillmeier, M. (2010). Rethinking Disability: Bodies, senses and things. Oxon: Routledge.
- Shakespeare, T. (2009) Disability: A complex interaction, In H. Daniels, H. Lauder & J. Porter (eds.) Knowledge, Values and Educational Policy: A Critical Perspective, London: Routledge (Ch.3.6).
The following two texts explore how learners with disabilities may be at risk of being bullied at school:
- Mencap (2007) Don’t Stick It, Stop It: bullying wrecks lives – the experiences of children and young people with a learning disability. London: Mencap.
- McLaughlin, Colleen, Byers, Richard and Oliver, Caroline, eds. (2012) Perspectives on bullying and difference: supporting young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in school. National Children's Bureau, London.
The following book examines the portrayal of disability in children’s fiction and aims to provide a framework for teaching children how to understand and cope with disability:
- Saunders, K. (2000) Happy Ever Afters: A Storybook Guide to Teaching Children about Disability, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
Reading and other resources offering guidance about supporting the learning of children and young people identified as having disabilities is provided later in the section on ‘Needs’ as a dimension of difference.
The last ‘dimension of difference’ discussed in Chapter 15 considers how all children and indeed adults experience variation in their learning abilities,. This is closely related to other factors such as personal interest, motivation and expectations and therefore readings for Chapter 2 will also be useful here. However, a key text is:
- Hart, S., Dixon, A., Drummond, M. J. & McIntyre, D. (2004) Learning without Limits. Maidenhead: Open University Press. (Reading 1.4)
Furthermore, all the ‘dimensions of difference’ referred to in this section contribute to conditions which enable or restrain opportunities for learning.
Finally, these ‘dimensions’ are not experienced as discrete entities in children’s often complex lives. Increasingly researchers emphasise how social disadvantages associated with one dimension may be compounded by disadvantages associated with another. See for example:
- Cole. M. (2006) Education, Equality and Human Rights: Issues of Gender, Race, Sexuality, Disability and Social Class, Abingdon: Routledge.
- Shain, F. (2003) The Schooling and Identity of Asian Girls, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Plummer, G. (2000) Failing Working Class Girls, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Sewell, T. (1997) Black Masculinities and Schooling: How Black Boys Survive Modern Schooling, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.
- Archer, L. (2003) Race, Masculinity and Schooling, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Youdell, D. (2011) School Trouble: Identity, Power and Politics in Education. London: Routledge.