How Do Parents and Primary School Children in Germany Cope with Increasing Educational Pressure?
Parents, who are aware of the central function of school for future life chances, want to position their children in the best possible way and hence intensify their educational strategies as the presented results of the qualitative study “SEBI – Self-orientation and Self-directed Learning: An Analysis of Socialization and Learning Environments of Primary School Children” will reveal. Focusing on interactions within the family, it can be shown how parents’ reactions to this increasing pressure are constantly adjusted to school responses but also vary according to social background, the availability of resources and the specific features of the child’s personality. The findings also demonstrate how the children as actors contribute to their own educational process – primarily, by the degree of their school success – but on a second level by detecting the expectations they are addressed with and developing a whole repertoire of strategies in order to make use of this knowledge. They easily find ways to fit into predetermined educational arrangements but they can also more or less reduce this kind of cooperation and thereby provoke adaptions of the educational programs.
With regard to the production and reproduction of inequality in education, it will be argued that a low social status has a double negative effect on educational programs in the family: The lack of resources and the experience of social marginality increase the intensity of parental efforts for school success, narrowing down nearly all interactions with the child to performance training, which causes a correspondingly low self-assessment of the children.