M. de Haan
- The interactive attribution of school success in multi-ethnic schools
- European Journal of Psychology of Education
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The study shows how explanations for school success are expressed and dialogically constructed during teacher-parent conferences at school. Attribution theory is used to conceptualize the various explanations for school success that were expressed. However, instead of only looking at attributions as beliefs which individuals or groups ‘have’, the aim of this study is to show how attributions are part of co-constructed processes in which multiple partners impact upon each other’s attributions over the course of a conversation. The results indicated that in the conversations between teachers and minority parents, school performance is more often attributed to effort while in conversations with majority parents, psychological attributions were more common. Besides these differences in content, the process through which these accounts were constructed was different. While the diagnosis on what went wrong was more commonly constructed in case of the conversations with majority parents, they were more characterised by opposition or a passive position by the parent in case of the conversations with minority parents. The analyses show that instead of a simple mismatch between explanations of the home and the school, these explanations are interactionally co-constructed as both parents and teachers necessarily ‘re’-act on each other’s claims and understanding of school success. The results ultimately reveal how the interactive process impacted upon the construction of the attributions and the possibilities this creates for partnerships between parents and teachers to create an understanding of the child’s academic potential across home and school.
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