Children's Learner Identity as Key to Quality Primary Education

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This ethnographic study, based in Guragon within the state of Haryana in India, examines how social practices in family life, within friendships with other children and through relationships with teachers influence children’s approaches to learning in school contexts. Data was collected upon eight children from contrasting socio-economic backgrounds who attended two schools, a village and a private school. This book contains 39 black and white photographs.


“While statistics are important so too is a closer understanding of what lies beneath them; Chawla-Duggan does just that. She takes us into the State of Haryana to the town of Guragon, down its streets and into the classrooms and homes of eight children. ... They are precisely those children, who, with millions of others, will play an important role in India’s development.” – Dr. Roger Garrett, Director, Centre for International Studies in Education, University of Bristol

“This work is original in that the detailed case studies of eight children provide not only a child-focused ethnography but one which investigates parental and peer group influences on children’s learning in addition to teacher and classroom influences.” – Professor Graham Vulliamy, Emeritus Professor of Education, Department of Educational Studies, University of York

“This book is a contribution to the wider debate on the provision of quality primary education for poverty alleviation. It is also a contribution to the limited ethnographic work available on the perspectives of children themselves as learners. Through its use of children’s perspectives, the book brings a unique contribution to the existing debates and concerns about the provision of quality primary education in the context of poverty alleviation programs.” – Professor Andrew Pollard, Director, ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme, Insitute of Education, University of London

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Roger Garrett
Maps / Location of the Study
Part One: Learner Identity and Educational Quality in an Indian Context: A Framework for Understanding
1 Children’s Learner Identities – Linking Problem, Theory and Method
2 Educational Quality – India and the Wider Context
Part Two: Children, Families and Schooling
3 Family Relationships and Practices: The Government Village School Children
4 Family Relationships and Practices: The Private Model School Children
5 Curriculum Practices and Classroom Relationships: The Government Village School Children
6 Curriculum Practices and Classroom Relationships: The Private Model School Children
7 Children Experiencing Assessment Part Three: Learner Identity, Quality Education and Poverty Alleviation in India
8 Making Connections: Children’s Learner Identities
9 Reconciling Learner Identity with Quality Education
Appendix 1 – Family Relationships Mediating School Experiences
Appendix 2 – Learner Identity from School Settings
Appendix 3 – The Researching Process in Indian Educational Settings – A Brief Autobiographical Account
Subject Index
Author Index