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The reproduction of social class inequalities through mathematics pedagogies in South African primary schools

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It has long been clear that the school reproduces social class differences. However, how this happens remains something of a black box. I set out to contribute to our understanding of schooling processes and the reproduction of inequality by focusing on pedagogy. I elaborate a technique for the analysis of classroom observation and student performance data that is rooted in sociological theory. The purpose is to develop an analytic framework capable of capturing a wide variation in pedagogic practice, and show the implications of this variation for student learning. The focus is on how the structuring of social relations relates to the structuring of knowledge, and what the implications of this are in terms of how children of different social-class positions are socialized into school ways of knowing, or the 'school code'. I address the equity debate in mathematics education and schooling more generally, by showing how inequalities are reproduced through pedagogy. The focus here relates to broader debates on the relation between everyday knowledge and school knowledge in mathematics.

Keywords: equity; everyday knowledge; knowledge structures; mathematics education; pedagogy; social class; social reproduction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2007

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