“Soft” and “Hard” Landings: the Experience of School under Contrasting Institutional Arrangements in Australia and France

Joel Windle

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Turkish migration to France and Australia has followed a similar pattern, and the children of these migrants can be found in similar sites in the academic hierarchy present in both countries. However, important differences in the management of ethnic and religious identities and in the organisation of schooling have produced contrasting experiences for families and their children. The research findings presented here reveal processes underpinning the maintenance of “dreams” in Australia and hastening “disillusionment” in France. In Victoria, academic judgements are deferred and students remain in a comprehensive system in which all can at least aspire to the most academically demanding professions. By contrast, the attitudes of students in the French system are formed by examinations and separation into specialised vocational sections by the age of 15. Combined with more rigid pedagogical approaches and heightened ethnic tensions, this tends to produce a sense of disillusionment among students in France.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Windle, Joel. “Soft” and “Hard” Landings: the Experience of School under Contrasting Institutional Arrangements in Australia and France. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2009, vol.11, no.2, pp. 174-194, UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol11/issue2/art4

About the author:

Joel Windle is a lecturer and post-doctoral fellow at Monash University, Clayton (Australia). His research is in the field of the sociology of education, and analyses the implications of cultural diversity for pedagogical and social relations across institutional settings. He is currently working on projects investigating school choice among ethnic minorities and transition programmes for students with interrupted schooling. E-mail: joel.windle(at)education.monash.edu.au

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