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Educational legitimation and parental as Educational legitimation and parental as... - PDF Document (974 K)
Educational legitimation and parental aspiration : private tutoring in Perth, Western Australia / Jenny Davis
Private tuition is a well-established feature of the Australian education system. It is estimated to be a billion dollar a year industry. Furthermore, international research indicates that private tuition is ubiquitous worldwide. Despite its scope, the tuition industry in Australia receives little attention from academics, mainstream educators or government regulators. The study reported in this thesis sought to redress this oversight by conducting an in-depth investigation into the phenomenon of private tuition for primary-school aged children in Perth, Western Australia. The overarching aim was to develop theory about how private tuition impacts on the lives of the tutors, students and families involved in the tuition industry. To achieve this aim this thesis presents case studies of five tuition providers who operate outside of school hours on private fee-paying bases. The qualitative data for the case studies comprise interviews with the key stakeholders, observations conducted in the field and documents gathered at the field sites. A total of 26 participants were interviewed, including administrators, tutors, parents and children. The data were analysed using grounded theory techniques modified to accommodate insights from Pierre Bourdieu's work on education. The findings are based on both case-by-case and cross-case analyses. In the early stages Bourdieuian concepts of cultural capital, habitus and field were used to inform the analysis.
The concept of legitimacy arose as a key theoretical theme during the data analysis and became the pivotal component of the emerging theory, resulting in the theory of legitimating claims. This thesis provides original insights into the experiences of the key stakeholders engaged in the private tuition industry. In particular the thesis explores the relationship between the legitimating claims made by private tutors and the propensity of parents to respond favourably to those claims in order to address their aspirations for their children. This central relationship has implications for theory, policy and practice in both the specific field of private tuition and the wider field of mainstream education. Furthermore, as is often the case with qualitative research, this thesis raises issues that suggest numerous fruitful avenues for future research.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Western Australia, 2013
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