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Mind the aspiration gap: how primary school pupils perceive their future adult selves and the perspectives and expectations of parents and teachers

FORRESTER, Gillian, HUDSON, Ruth, ROWLEY, Jane and PUGH, Jim (2022) Mind the aspiration gap: how primary school pupils perceive their future adult selves and the perspectives and expectations of parents and teachers. Educational Review. ISSN 0013-1911

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This article reports on research investigating the aspirations of pupils in primary schools located in low-socioeconomic areas in one English county. The research adopted a qualitative approach to explore aspirations, self-efficacy, opinions regarding the merits of investment in education, and notions of perceived future selves. The research also considered the expectations of parents and teachers providing insight into how they support children's aspirations and expose them to opportunities and ideas. The study utilised various trigger activities as a precursor to focus groups. The findings show a distinct gap between pupils’ conception of their current selves and their future selves whereby there is uncertainty and insecurity about the appropriate steps needed to make informed choices and realise aspirations. Parents and extended family are the predominant idea source for aspirations and their assistance is recognised, above all, as important by pupils. Aspirations are also fashioned by pupils’ gender-specific ideas about certain jobs and cultural exposure to the media. Pupils discern the importance of working hard and performing well at school. Most parents just want their child to be happy in the future and, as such, would support their child’s career choices believing these could be achieved although believing qualifications are important, and the job market restricted. Teachers want their pupils to have options but identify barriers to achieving aspirations as worklessness in families, the locality of the school, low self-efficacy and unrealistic aspirations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: pupils’ aspirations, self-efficacy, future selves, primary schools
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Education
Depositing User: Gillian FORRESTER
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 09:47
Last Modified: 01 May 2024 01:38

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