6 November 2014
The Importance of Cultural Capital
Annette Lareau's research is based around the sociology of education. She describes three different conceptual approaches that relate to parental involvement in education. These studies and interpretations involve poverty, leadership, unequal resources and cultural experience based on social status. Lareau states, "The analysis and conclusions are based on an intensive study of home-school relationships of children in the first and second grades of a white working-class school and an upper-middle-class school".
Furthermore, she examines the historical variations in family-school relationships. The three periods differ drastically over four decades. As a result, education and family life went through many transitional stages in relation to a child's cognitive development. Also, many factors like location, work schedules, time and money were influential on these relationships. Certainly, these factors shaped and affected the degree of parental involvement. Therefore, the promotion of parental involvement with a strong teacher-parent partnership would be ideal for achievements and better academic performance. The integration of family and school life is always important. In addition, continuing education at home through reading, spelling, using community resources, participating in events and volunteering can strengthen performance.
Lareau's research is also surrounded by economic status and activity that was viewed at two different schools. Thus, the interaction and integration between parents and teachers had many differences. The parental participation based on these different statuses became visible. Accordingly, the working-class parents tended to have less confidence, communication and understanding of the teacher-student relationship. On the other hand, the upper-middle-class parental involvement was less formal and more focused on academic matters. Therefore, the interaction was more frequent, resourceful, friendly and supportive.
Another important analysis determined that the educational and monetary capabilities of these two different societies played a huge role. The working-class parents lacked educational skills and strongly depended on teacher's to educate their children. They had limited information about schooling while battling inflexible work schedules. Often, they had transportation issues, no disposable income and child care barriers. On the other hand, the upper-middle-class parents had many advantages gained through prestige, confidence and equality. In addition, they had strong social networks, money for their children to do after school activities, flexible work schedules, extensive knowledge, housecleaners and babysitters. In summary, the values and beliefs that can be earned through education and social status will directly affect other areas of influence. Lareau stated through Bourdieu and Passeron, "social-class position and class culture become a form of cultural capital in the school setting". Finally, she stresses the importance of continuing studies based on the significance of cultural capital within a social context and the correlation between family-school relationships.
First, to understand my early years as a child, it is very complex. My mother never got married and I was raised by her for most of my life. Fortunately, I did meet my father as I entered my high-school years. Both of my parents were devoted to hard work rather than expansion of education. My father has always been extremely smart but focused much of his life on skilled labor while supporting his three other children. He was a carpenter and electrician that joined a union. My mother mostly dealt in the hospitality field doing waitressing and bartending. She was the backbone of my existence and made sure I was always active, involved and taken care of while she was working. My first twelve years were spent in the Brockton, MA