1st Edition

The Social Context of Learning in India Achievement Gaps and Factors of Poor Learning

    180 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Why are children from disadvantaged and minority communities overrepresented among academic underachievers, poor learners, and school dropouts? This volume engages with this question and examines classroom learning as a process that involves a multitude of actors situated in specific social, cultural, and historical contexts.

    The volume covers an interdisciplinary spectrum of educational processes, contexts, educational ambitions, and limitations of low-caste, working-class, and middle-class students from different Indian communities and regions. The volume delves into the problem of academic underperformance from a social identity perspective and probes into social context-based variability in classroom learning, systemic disadvantages in the form of negative stereotypes, and the family as an under-studied social group in all discussions of schooling. It also examines the teachers’ perceptions and attitudes towards Adivasi students and other minority groups in primary schools and their effect on children’s classroom engagement.

    The chapters in this volume provide insights into unresolved and critical research questions that require the attention of teachers, school management, educators, and policymakers alike. This book will also be useful for academicians, policymakers, teacher educators, pedagogic practitioners in India and abroad, and state and central government institutions working on school education, educational psychology, policymaking in education, learning methods, and research on educational enhancement.

    Introduction 1. Understanding Classroom Learning: Psychological Tools Approach to Education Jyoti Raina 2. The Power of Collective: Responses to Systemic Disadvantage in the Educational Context Divya Padalia and Arvind Kumar Mishra 3. The FamilySchool Relationship Nita Kumar 4. Enabling Environment for Learning and the Middle-Class Advantage Smriti Singh 5. Samaj and Sangat: Parental Construction of Children's Poor Educational Attainments in a Caste-Based Segregated Settlement Sriti Ganguly 6. Textbook 'Proposes', Teacher 'Disposes': Marginalising Textbooks and Teachers' Strategies of Subversion Kishore Darak 7. Teachers' Perceptions and Attitudes towards Adivasi Students and Their Effect on Children's Classroom Engagement Mini Shrinivasan 8. Understanding Comprehension: Classroom Problems with English for the EWS Child Peggy Mohan 9. Unequal Access to Learning in Bihar: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives Manoj Kumar Tiwary


    Manoj Kumar Tiwary is an educationist and research fellow for a number of organisations based in India and the Netherlands. His research explores the social history of education, teacher training, and learning achievements, with a particular focus on Bihar.

    Sanjay Kumar is a scholar, practitioner, and founder of Deshkal Society, Delhi, India. He has been working in the areas of social diversity, inequality, and education for more than one and a half decades both in practice and scholarship. His articles, monographs, and occasional papers have been published in journals and magazines. He is the co-editor of various books: Interrogating Development: Insights from the Margins; School Education, Pluralism and Marginality: Comparative Perspectives; and Dynamics of Inclusive Classroom: Social Diversity, Inequality and School Education in India. His recent co-edited publication is The Marginalized Self: Tales of Resistance of a Community.

    Arvind Kumar Mishra teaches Social Psychology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the co-editor of four books: Interrogating Development: Insights from the Margins (2010); School Education, Pluralism and Marginality: Comparative Perspectives (2012); Dynamics of Inclusive Classroom: Social Diversity, Inequality and School Education in India (2017); and The Marginalized Self: Tales of Resistance of a Community (2020). His research papers have been published in prestigious journals such as the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the Journal of Social and Political Psychology. His research interest focuses on theoretical and philosophical issues in psychology, resistance to modernity, self, and identity processes among marginalised communities.

    "This volume seeks to provide theoretical and macro perspective towards the idea of learning achievement gap and poor learning at the outset and then moves on to capture the social context to the learning advantage or disadvantage. The proposed book then specifically identifies the micro issues of language, multilingual classroom contexts in schooling and their impact on learning processes and also the teacher attitudes and strategies in facilitating or not facilitating learning among socially disadvantaged social groups such as tribes."

    Anonymous Reviewer


    "The book illuminates the complex and embedded nature of school learning. By considering the contextual and personal factors, it offers an account of the academic achievement gap. The analyses presented have implications for the rejuvenation of the school system. The work deserves the serious attention of scholars and policymakers engaged with the issues of access, equality, and justice in society." 

    Girishwar Misra, Former Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishvavidyalaya, Wardha, and Former Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, Delhi University, Delhi 


    "The Social Context of Learning in India offers a bold analysis of factors hindering the education of historically marginalized children and youth. This fascinating collection of chapters peels back layers of complexity that produce both successful learning among the middle classes, as well as failure among the poor. While the authors suggest no quick fix, they pinpoint specific problems that can be addressed. I highly recommend this valuable book for anyone interested in improving education in India."

    Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay, Member, National Academy of Education