Interactionist Perspectives on Education
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Interactionist Perspectives on Education

Interactionists are concerned with the way pupils and teachers interact. They also concentrate on the way teacher expectations and perceptions of pupils can affect the life chances and educational chances of pupils

Hargreaves and Lacey
The studies of Hargreaves and Lacey showed that teacher perceptions of the pupils were very strongly influenced by what set or stream they were put into. In top streams teachers had high expectations and perceptions whereas in lower streams the teachers were shown to have much lower expectations of the pupils and responded in very different ways to them. The pupils themselves felt denied access to status and began to develop anti school attitudes

Ball's study "Beachside Comprehensive" found that banding resulting in very similar results. Ball distinguished between four types of pupil sub culture
Pro School
1. Supportive - pro school because they believe in it
2. Manipulators - pro school because it suits their interests
Anti School
3. Passive - those who drift into non-conformist behaviour
4. Rejecting - those who actively reject the school and its values

The Actions of Teachers

According to Hargreaves, Hester and Mellor "Deviance in the classroom" teachers engage in the labelling of pupils by which they label pupils and then respond to their own labelling

According to Rosenthal and Jacobsen teachers communicate these labels to students and the pupils eventually internalise them. Interaction on the basis of such labels can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy - positive labels result in achievement, negative labels lack of achievement and poor behaviour. Hargreaves makes the strong case that deviant behaviour in the classroom is often the consequence of negative labelling as pupils develop anti school sub cultures