Open Access Dissertation
Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
The purpose of this dissertation was determining influences behind identity formation, social reproduction, and resistance of students residing in a local manufactured home community and attending a suburban majority White, middle-and upper-middle class middle school. Narratives from participants were included to assist in disseminating intersecting lives of students (the trailer park kids) with their parents and teachers. The lives of the trailer park kids at home and at school were portrayed. Research before this study focused on similar themes, but unique was examination of effects on students attending school as a minority by social class standing and their place of residence. The settings were the manufactured home community (Waldenburg Acres) and the school (Kearney Middle School). Ethnographic methods were used to obtain data in the field. Eight students and one parent were interviewed three times each. Four high seniority teachers were also interviewed. Interviews took place at school, in homes of participants, at Waldenburg Acres clubhouse, or in local restaurants and coffee shops. Students were observed in their core curricular classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria and on the bus. Transcripts from interviews, field notes and research journal entries were included as part of the data analysis and discussion of findings. Exposing differences in the school day between the trailer park kids and the middle-and upper-middle class (single family home kids) surfaced as key to understanding findings. The trailer park kids experienced social isolation and curriculum alienation attributed to perceptions and bias of the single-family home kids and teachers. Teachers affectionately demonstrated culture of poverty beliefs that promoted stereotypes, a segregated existence and social reproduction for the trailer park kids. Resistance by both teachers and trailer park kids was passive in response to the culture of power in the school, held by the single-family home kids.
Further examination of heterogeneous social class schools and schools where students from manufactured home communities attend was suggested to add to these findings. Implications of social class difference need to be explored in teacher education. Professional development for teachers that disrupts culture of poverty beliefs and exposes the non-neutral curriculum is needed.
Vanlaan, Jeanne Marie, "Trailer Park Kids: An Ethnographic Study Of Identity Formation In An Affluent Suburban Middle School" (2018). Wayne State University Dissertations. 2078.