What is school for? Understanding structural inequalities through the experiences of high school students
This paper probes the ways of which structural formations of society manifest themselves in school practices. Towards this end, study focuses on the daily life experiences of high school students and their interactions with the broader society through making sense of these experiences. Within the scope of the research, 96 high school students attending 11th grade at six different types of high schools were interviewed. All schools are located at the central districts of Ankara. These school are Science (SH), Anatolian (AH), Vocational and Technical Anatolian, (VH) Fine Arts (FAH), Social Sciences (SCH), and Anatolian Imam and Preacher High Schools (IPH). Eight girls and eight boys were selected from each high school to compose study group. In this study, three major segments of experiences of high school student are located at the center of the scrutiny: expectations from students, limits and possibilities of social mobility and distinctive characteristics of school types, as they articulated by high school students. It was found that each high school has various characteristics that shape daily life activities of students. Expectation from students seems to occupy a primary position in establishing the ideas about the self-efficacy as well as legitimating teacher-student relationship. There seems to be intimate relationship among possibilities of social mobility, and school type, the condition that school type corresponds to the possible future positions student may have in the future. Similarly, distinctions across schools are produced with reference to what is going to happen to them in the near future.
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