On pg. 109, Heath mentions that Trackton people are aware of the peculiarities of their way of speaking to their young children. What is the implication of this awareness for the interpretation of the overall case?
Awareness of their norms for speaking to their children doesn’t necessarily mean that the parents of Trackton (or any place like it that may have a similar culture of talking around children but not directly to them) understand the implications for how that may affect their children’s later academic success. Furthermore, once long standing behaviors (for lack of a better term) have been established, it can be very difficult to change the entire extended family’s relationship towards talking to young children, even if there was a concerted effort to do so. It brings to mind the idea of healthy eating. Most people are “aware” of what habits need to be established to maintain health through eating, but consistently changing their eating (which is so bound up in the idea of family, culture, heritage, norms, habits, etc.) can be extremely difficult.
In this recent NY Times article on “the culture of poverty” there is an interesting move (again) to look at a “community’s cultural norms” as a predictor of poverty. In a similar way the consistency of the language engagement practices of parents in Trackton seem to collectively make up a “culture” that does not adequately prepare the young children of Trackton to succeed in school. I tend to believe that beyond awareness of their practices, the parents of Trackton would need to have had a sustained effort on the broad based community level to emphasize speaking to their children in ways that better prepare them for school success.
Mpanzani 16:21, 18 October 2010 (UTC)