Classroom meeting a window into children's cultures /
This ethnographic study examines classroom meetings within a progressive
education classroom. Specifically the study takes place in an Informal first and second
grade multi-age classroom that reflects the democratic ideals of progressive education.
Informed by sociocultural theory, the researcher focuses on how the cultures of the
classroom are co-constructed and reflected through the interactions of its participants.
The everyday patterns of action and interaction establish the school and peer cultures
distinct to the Informal classroom. The researcher used multiple methods of data
collection to provide a lens for viewing each of these worlds. The methods include: daily
audio recordings and participant observation notes, weekly collections of artifacts,
quarterly grounded surveys, and small group interviews as needed. Distinctive in its
progressive pedagogy, the teacher as an agent of school culture presents the norms and
rituals that must be learned in order to be an Informal student. The school culture further
reflects the teacher’s focal concerns as a progressive educator: a democratic education
with an integration of the curriculum. While the teacher presents these norms, the
students contribute their own input and ultimately daily life in negotiated as a coconstruction.
Tracer units, such as the ritual of sharing, reveal the social construction of
classroom action and discourse as the children create a distinct social history reflecting
the common experiences they share with one another. Rituals also unveil the focal
concerns that emerge with the construction of a peer culture. Fulfilling the role of a
participant-observer, the researcher observes how a school culture event makes room for
the peer culture to intersect creating opportunities for emergent literacy and for
authentically assessing students’ social development. Ultimately, these intersections
provide a place for relationships to develop and for the foundation of a classroom
community to be co-constructed. Together, the children and the teacher of the classroom
become keepers of the history, geography, and culture of the classroom community.
Classroom meetings are more than just simple events; they are complex and culturally
connected, offering its participants a potential of possibilities, including the chance to be
part of something bigger than oneself.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:classroom environment progressive education elementary educational sociology
Date of Publication: