Family interactions constitute an arena for children's moral development: it is indeed through ordinary talk, and shared, task-oriented activities that children are socialized into moral orders and culturally informed ways of thinking and acting. Drawing on a video-based study on the everyday life of 19 middle-class families and adopting a discourse analytic approach, the paper sheds light on the socializing function of a domestic activity: homework. We illustrate that, when it unfolds as a family activity, the issues at stake go far beyond its school-oriented goals: homework provides ‘ethical affordances’ that make relevant moral talk whereby parents introduce children to some unquestioned principles such as homework must be done neatly and it is part of the child's duties. We contend that, by participating in morally loaded homework interactions, children are socialized not only into a school-aligned cultural list concerning what is right and what is wrong about homework, but moreover into a constitutive, taken-for-granted pillar of human sociality: the moral assessability of human conduct, i.e., its being subject to evaluations informed by the ‘right vs. wrong’ category. Implications for teacher training and parent education programs are discussed in the conclusion.

Beyond school-related learning : parent-child homework talk as a morality building activity

L. Caronia
;
v. Colla
2023

Abstract

Family interactions constitute an arena for children's moral development: it is indeed through ordinary talk, and shared, task-oriented activities that children are socialized into moral orders and culturally informed ways of thinking and acting. Drawing on a video-based study on the everyday life of 19 middle-class families and adopting a discourse analytic approach, the paper sheds light on the socializing function of a domestic activity: homework. We illustrate that, when it unfolds as a family activity, the issues at stake go far beyond its school-oriented goals: homework provides ‘ethical affordances’ that make relevant moral talk whereby parents introduce children to some unquestioned principles such as homework must be done neatly and it is part of the child's duties. We contend that, by participating in morally loaded homework interactions, children are socialized not only into a school-aligned cultural list concerning what is right and what is wrong about homework, but moreover into a constitutive, taken-for-granted pillar of human sociality: the moral assessability of human conduct, i.e., its being subject to evaluations informed by the ‘right vs. wrong’ category. Implications for teacher training and parent education programs are discussed in the conclusion.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/949710
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