Communicating the valued social role of student … or not?!
Social Role Valorization (SRV) and PASSING teach us that social roles (valued or devalued) can be communicated to observers, as well as to role incumbents themselves, through such channels as:
• activity, schedule, routine, time use
• personal presentation and appearance
• language use and other miscellaneous imagery
• social juxtapositions, associations and grouping with other people
(Read more about this on pp. 64-69 of the 3rd rev. ed. of the SRV monograph by Wolfensberger).
I want to focus on the role communicator of social juxtapositions, associations and groupings with other people. The other people that someone associates with, or is associated with, give us a clue as to what role that person is in. Note that it also matters what social roles these other people are in (cf. PASSING, 2007, R1252 Server-Recipient Image Match).
Think about the role of student for example. The role communicators include setting (schools, classrooms, lunch room, gym, etc.), activities (reading, group work, homework, projects, going to class, having lunch, hanging out with your friends between classes or at lunch, waiting for the bus or a ride, etc.), timing (5 days a week, only part of the year, shorter day depending on student age, etc.), language use (student, text, homework, assignments, rubric, etc.).
What about social juxtapositions? Students typically spend time primarily with other students and with teachers. Now, what if we add in armed police officers to that mix of social juxtapositions–as a growing number of schools in the US are doing? At the very least, we are creating a tension in the minds of perceivers: wait a minute, are these students, or menaces, or ‘delinquents’ or criminals or potential criminals? How does a change like this likely shape the mindsets and expectations of teachers, of fellow students, of visitors to the school?
A practice such as this raises other questions as well, but my intent was to focus on one perspective which SRV and role theory can bring to this issue.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: menace role, mind-sets, role communicators, role expectations, social role, social roles, student role, valued social roles, Wolf Wolfensberger