Discussion: A Critical Look at the Question of Class
The course text describes the impact of socioeconomic status on parenting style and the socialization of children. Berns defines four levels of “class” and describes characteristics of each. Yet, further reading implies that the concept—and reality—of social class may be more complex than the author’s presentation.
Your role as a student is not only to read for information, but also to read critically as well. Review the “Class Descriptions” and “Effects of Class” sections of the course text (pages 107-109), paying close attention to the values and behaviors ascribed to each class and especially the “lower class” and the “underclass.”
Then, review the “Class Matters: Shadowy Lines That Still Divide” article, which discusses modern views of social class in the United States.
Next, consider the following:
What you know about class in America today
Your experiences related to class
The differences between the presentation of class in America today in the New York Times article and the description of class in the course text
Your thoughts about those differences
How children may be affected by class and by people’s attitudes and beliefs related to class
How the information presented in your text might have a negative affect on teachers’ perceptions of children and their families
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