This resource is a powerpoint presentation consisting of 20 slides and three additional resources. It is intended to provide a means of structuring a discussion about differences in educational outcomes by social group and the way in which these have been linked to parental factors and to a lack of aspiration. Teacher trainees with an interest in social exclusion and home/school relationships may also find it useful as a resource to support independent study. The powerpoint explores the following questions:
- What do we mean by aspirations and to what extent are these shaped by expectations?
- Could more be done in schools to support the aspirations of children from working class backgrounds?
- Does it matter if some parents are considered to be lacking in aspirations?
The presentation draws on the recent Cabinet Office publication Aspiration and attainment amongst young people in deprived communities (see link below) that concluded that there is:
A need to look more broadly at young people's aspirations, how they are formed and at the process by which they influence outcomes. (Cabinet Office, 2008, p.9)
The slides cover a broad range of educational issues including the social context of schools and the way in which professional expectations shape home/school relationships. References to additional resources and to further reading are included in the supporting notes that accompany each slide.
1. Extract from Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama, Canongate Books (2007). Chapter 9, pages164 -166.
Provides a rich description of a socially disadvantaged area in Chicago. This extract could be used to prompt a discussion about the impact of socio-economic factors on communities, employment and aspirations. Could be linked to Slide 11 which looks at schools and their location.
2. Extract from 101 Ethical Dilemmas. Cohen, M. (2003), Routledge, (2003). Dilemma 3. The psychologists' tale.
Provides a brief outline of a well-known psychological experiment. Although the case is extreme and may at first glance appear of little relevance, it could be used to stimulate discussion about the extent to which human behaviour is susceptible to the influence of context and circumstance. It could be linked to Slide 13 as this considers the impact of differences in educational provision on pupils and their aspirations.
3. Aynsley, S and Crossouard, B. Making Choices. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) December 2008.
This research paper explores university aspirations from the perspective of vocational students in Further Education programmes. It may be useful as additional reading and links to issues discussed in Slide 10.