Academic conformity observed: studies in the classroom
Delamont, Katherine Sara
This thesis is predominantly a study of a sample of girls from one school. The major focus is conformity and non-conformity in scholastic matters, with special emphasis on classroom behaviour. The project began with questionnaire research on the attitudes to study held by a large sample of Scottish adolescents. Acting on the conclusions of this research, the project underwent a change of primary focus. Instead of concentrating on attitudes in a large sample, the main emphasis became the actions of small numbers of pupils in the classroom - particularly their speech patterns. Two distinct methods were used to study the classroom, systematic observation with pre-deterrained schedules, and unstructured or ethnographic observation. Both types of observation were used to analyse the classroom behaviour of teachers, in addition to the conformity and non-conformity of pupil behaviour in the classroom. Teacher and pupil perspectives on academic matters are discussed, and related to the interactions which occurred in the classroom. The historical and social background of the particular school in which the intensive study took place is examined, and associated with the 'rules' of classroom discourse. The final chapter of the thesis presents a model which integrates the various themes running through the thesis, drawn from the writings of the symbolic interactionist school of social psychology.