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Student Roles in the Classroom

  • By: Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur & Hitaf R. Kady
  • In: Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: James Ainsworth
  • Subject:Sociology of Education (general), Sociology of Education, Education Policy

Student roles, like “class clown,” “jock,” “prep,” “geek,” or “burnout,” have become commonplace stereotypes of students in classrooms. When the reference point for student roles is taken to be a set of stereotypes, it is easy to assume that roles are an individual phenomenon: an individual student's choice from among an unlimited range of possible roles. More common to everyday life in schools, however, are student roles that are less obvious and, therefore, easier to take for granted.

These include roles for being a particular kind of student or learner—a “good” student or a “bad” student, a “slow” learner or a “fast” learner—and the constellation of ways of knowing, being, and valuing that are enacted by particular children and groups of children in schooled contexts. Student ...

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