Social Class and Children

The elementary school is an environment that is usually created by white, middle-class women. If you visit the average elementary school, you will find halls full of children and women. If this is the average school, what is the average student? In different areas and schools the average student varies.  So, how does the average student, that differs from the average teacher, feel in the classroom that was created with different ideals and values? Elementary schools usually foster the hidden middle-class rules, that middle-class students understand, but students that do not come the middle-class do not understand. This does not foster social justice. How are students supposed to know these hidden rules that are understood by everyone but them? This week I read, “I Need Help!” Social Class and Children’s Help-Seeking in Elementary School by: Jessica McCorory Calarco. This article address one of these hidden rules, the way middle-class students ask for help. I found this hidden rule interesting. The fact that middle-class students feel comfortable asking questions in class and they will go out of their way to get their question asked, while lower-class students will not. How is this fair if the lower-class students do not even know that they can, and should, ask questions? This clearly impacts achievement. As a teacher, I think that a way to get rid of this hidden rule, is to explicitly tell students that they can ask questions and also model for students how to properly ask a question (not interrupting, raising your hand, etc.). We must help create a classroom that is equitable for all, which means getting rid of this hidden middle-class rules.

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