Školní úspěšnost a její (re)produkce na základní škole
ACADEMIC SUCCESS AND THE INTERGENERATIONAL REPRODUCTION OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AT BASIC SCHOOL
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This article presents the preliminary results of an ethnographic study focusing on eighth- and ninth-year students at two basic schools in Prague. The study conceives academic success and failure as categories that need to be explained; it is necessary to demonstrate how they are produced and ascribed with meaning in the everyday practice of student evaluation, especially by school authorities. Student evaluations are generally based on a complex assessment of a student’s aptitude and diligence, and they also reflect a student’s conduct at school conduct and attitude towards school discipline, education, and authority, i.e. towards accepted values, the school code, and other (written and unwritten) rules of interaction. Academic failure signalling some kind of shortcoming on the part of the recipient of an evaluation – be it a lack of interest, motivation, cooperation, effort, ability, or intelligence – has a moral connotation and stigmatising effect. This is legitimised by the presumption that it is the student’s own deliberate actions, his or her degree of interest and effort, that determine success or failure at school, and that this essentially has nothing to do with the student’s (natural) intelligence or (given) family background. Yet a student’s family background and available cultural resources play an important role in academic performance. Academically inclined parents, high academic ambitions on the part of a student and his or her parents, communication style, and respect for school authority are key elements of success at basic school and have a hand in the intergenerational reproduction of educational inequalities.
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