Social World of Childhood?

Yes I know this is a module title from the Ed Studies programme here, but I wanted to give some account of my being on the school bus, the 4a from Headington up to the top of the Raleigh Park estate in Oxford, with an increasing pile of kids from Matthew Arnold School.  They were legion and noisy at the start of the day, and sort of objecting to my curmudgeonly refusing to move so they could sit together. What was most interesting was their concerns: “Would I be allowed to have my ‘phone in behaviour support?”  “Did you know that [A] isn’t speaking to [B] since [B] said she didn’t like [C]???””Miss [to the luckless TA also on the bus], I have an exam tomorrow does that mean I miss behaviour support?” The conversations were all about behaviour and relationships, a descant to the tap of mobile ‘phones, multifaceted conversations.

Why I am surprised?

I’m not, well, not really – but what I want to underline is how little any of this seemed to chime with the grand high project of education I was going to lecture on.  On the bus I felt surrounded by an alien world, a world of children and young people: concerns around rules and rule-breaking; alliances and gossip; what can be got away with and what will have to be endured.

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