Teachers' perceptions of cultural capital: How do they influence the teaching of civic, social and political education?
Keywords:cultural capital, DEIS schools, fee-paying schools, citizenship education
− Teachers of citizenship education in lower SES schools emphasise voting and elections in their teaching approach.
− Teachers of citizenship education in fee-paying schools emphasise political structures, national politics and social responsibility.
− Teachers of citizenship education in lower SES schools tend to emphasise personal responsibility.
− Teachers of citizenship education in fee-paying schools tend to focus on participatory citizenship.
− There is little evidence of justice-oriented citizenship education in Irish schools.
Purpose: This study examines whether differences exist in the teaching of CSPE across school types: Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS), fee-paying and ‘other’ schools. The study also examines whether such differences are linked to students’ cultural capital.
Design Methodology: A survey of 222 Irish CSPE teachers was used to identify differences in their teaching of CPSE. Responses were analysed by statistical and thematic analysis. The findings are discussed in relation to Bourdieu and Passeron’s work on cultural capital and Westheimer and Kahne’s typology of three forms of citizenship.
Findings: CSPE in DEIS schools was aligned with personally responsible citizenship, whereas CSPE in fee-paying schools tended to align with participatory citizenship. In other schools there were elements of both personally responsible and participatory citizenship.
Research limitations: The results are not generalisable. Furthermore, the findings are based on the teachers’ espoused practice rather than observation of their actual practice.
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