DISCUSSION: A CRITICAL LOOK AT THE QUESTION OF CLASS.
The course text describes the impact of socioeconomic status on parenting style and the socialization of children. Berns defines four levels of “class” and describes characteristics of each. Yet, further reading implies that the concept—and reality—of social class may be more complex than the author’s presentation.
Your role as a student is not only to read for information, but also to read critically as well. Review the “Class Descriptions” and “Effects of Class” sections of the course text (pages 107-109), paying close attention to the values and behaviors ascribed to each class and especially the “lower class” and the “underclass.”
Then, review the “Class Matters: Shadowy Lines That Still Divide” article, which discusses modern views of social class in the United States.
Next, consider the following:
- What you know about class in America today
- Your experiences related to class
- The differences between the presentation of class in America today in the New York Times article and the description of class in the course text
- Your thoughts about those differences
- How children may be affected by class and by people’s attitudes and beliefs related to class
- How the information presented in your text might have a negative affect on teachers’ perceptions of children and their families
Based on the readings and your own experiences, post your thoughts in regard to:
- Your views on differences between social classes that have the most influence on outcomes for children
- In your future work with young children and families, how you will avoid allowing stereotypes, assumptions, and labels that can create negative and/or limited perceptions of children and families from influencing you
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