Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Middle-class kids' preparation for workplace

In their organizational style, many of the activities in which middle-class children routinely participate replicate key aspects of the workplace. Children like Garrett, who meet and learn to work effectively with a new set of adults for every activity they enroll in, are acquiring a basic job skill—the ability to work smoothly with acquaintances. Most working-class and poor children, in contrast, have no opportunities for similar preemployment training. Most of the adults they encounter outside of school are immediate family members or extended family members. Some working-class and poor children interact periodically with adult neighbors, but encounters with adult acquaintances in organized settings are very rare.
Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2d ed. "with an update a decade later" (Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press, 2011), ch. 3

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