Understanding Class in the Classroom

“Many highly educated, well-intentioned, middle-class nonprofit professionals attempt to reach out across the class divide. All too often, these attempts fail,” reports a recent Public Education Network Weekly Newsblast. “Though rarely discussed in America, the subtle differences between social classes lead to major misunderstandings in the classroom, the workplace, and in many nonprofit settings. Understanding how social class shapes conceptions of the individual may ease tensions and promote equality. Teachers encourage sensitivity and self-expression. Lower class parents want toughness and discipline. Social service providers expect cooperation and disclosure. Their economically disadvantaged clients find their prodding intrusive and impolite.” The full article, written by an anthropologist, can be found on the Stanford Social Innovation Review articles page.