The aim of this contribution is to explore the social space emerging from the interaction between family and school. In the situations under examination, we tried to understand how “school culture” comes into contact with “family culture” via a dynamic of delimitation of competences over the key issue of children’s education. At this level of analysis, we are particularly interested in the interactional activities and in the conversational strategies that schools and families adopt during the “school report cards delivery” event. This kind of encounter, as in any social space, causes an adjustment between the participants, who will eventually converge or diverge in their evaluation of the preadolescent. The school and family cultures, in the meeting situation constituted by the presentation of the school report, will necessarily have to come into contact in a microsystemic space. If in daily life, family and school communicate almost exclusively via the child/pupil (in this case the meeting is face-to-face), and the respective representations of the child/pupil enter into direct contact in a conversational space that may force participants into a sort of identity disclosure. Altogether, this perspective, identifiable as guidelines for the analysis of the meetings reported in the following pages, refers to a more general notion of social interactions as forms of interdependence (Lewin 1951)2 and as environments where meanings are created.3 This research could also be situated in the promising dimension of everyday psychology (Emiliani, 2008). It would appear that the delivery of school report cards represents a true “ritual,” as it possesses all the main features of this type of social interaction:firstly, the school–family meeting takes place in an institutional space (the school) and at a specific time (for example, every four months), and the participants are individuals having specific roles (the teacher, the parents, the pupil/child), each one assigning to the event a specific set of expectations according to his/her own perspective (Marsico & Iannaccone, 2012). From an ecological and cultural viewpoint, we could say that the “report delivery” event represents an occasion in which the family micro-system and the school micro-system meet/clash, highlighting the meso-systemic connections (both the successful and fruitful ones and the unsuccessful or fruitless ones) between two life contexts of key importance in one’s upbringing (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). During this appointment, two “cultural worlds” come into contact, each one with its specific sets of beliefs and organization, specific “social climates,” and viewpoints (which can sometimes differ greatly, such as on the educational processes, the child/pupil’s growth and the management of the adult-child relationship). The school–family meeting is thus a critical event, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also for the meanings it acquires in the experience of the actors involved. Suffice to consider how the school’s evaluation of their child may be perceived by the parents as an evaluation of their own educational skills, or how the process of the definition of a preadolescent’s identity is strictly connected with his/her school experience, and the value that school success or failure acquires in relation to a positive or negative definition of the Self.

The Family Goes to School: Talks and Rituals of an Intercontextual Meeting

IANNACCONE, Antonio;MARSICO, Giuseppina
2013

Abstract

The aim of this contribution is to explore the social space emerging from the interaction between family and school. In the situations under examination, we tried to understand how “school culture” comes into contact with “family culture” via a dynamic of delimitation of competences over the key issue of children’s education. At this level of analysis, we are particularly interested in the interactional activities and in the conversational strategies that schools and families adopt during the “school report cards delivery” event. This kind of encounter, as in any social space, causes an adjustment between the participants, who will eventually converge or diverge in their evaluation of the preadolescent. The school and family cultures, in the meeting situation constituted by the presentation of the school report, will necessarily have to come into contact in a microsystemic space. If in daily life, family and school communicate almost exclusively via the child/pupil (in this case the meeting is face-to-face), and the respective representations of the child/pupil enter into direct contact in a conversational space that may force participants into a sort of identity disclosure. Altogether, this perspective, identifiable as guidelines for the analysis of the meetings reported in the following pages, refers to a more general notion of social interactions as forms of interdependence (Lewin 1951)2 and as environments where meanings are created.3 This research could also be situated in the promising dimension of everyday psychology (Emiliani, 2008). It would appear that the delivery of school report cards represents a true “ritual,” as it possesses all the main features of this type of social interaction:firstly, the school–family meeting takes place in an institutional space (the school) and at a specific time (for example, every four months), and the participants are individuals having specific roles (the teacher, the parents, the pupil/child), each one assigning to the event a specific set of expectations according to his/her own perspective (Marsico & Iannaccone, 2012). From an ecological and cultural viewpoint, we could say that the “report delivery” event represents an occasion in which the family micro-system and the school micro-system meet/clash, highlighting the meso-systemic connections (both the successful and fruitful ones and the unsuccessful or fruitless ones) between two life contexts of key importance in one’s upbringing (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). During this appointment, two “cultural worlds” come into contact, each one with its specific sets of beliefs and organization, specific “social climates,” and viewpoints (which can sometimes differ greatly, such as on the educational processes, the child/pupil’s growth and the management of the adult-child relationship). The school–family meeting is thus a critical event, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also for the meanings it acquires in the experience of the actors involved. Suffice to consider how the school’s evaluation of their child may be perceived by the parents as an evaluation of their own educational skills, or how the process of the definition of a preadolescent’s identity is strictly connected with his/her school experience, and the value that school success or failure acquires in relation to a positive or negative definition of the Self.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4007658
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