The Urban Review

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 571-588

First online:

Cultural Relay in Early Childhood Education: Methods of Teaching School Behavior to Low-Income Children

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There is a distinct class difference in the way that children are taught school behavior. Teachers in affluent schools use more implicit teaching techniques while teachers of low-income children are more explicit in their teaching of behavior. This stems largely from the alignment of the home culture of middle class children to school behavior and the difference between the home culture of low-income children to school codes. However, middle class children learn behavior at home implicitly. This study examines the possibility of low-income children learning school behavior implicitly while at school. The researcher observed two Chicago Head Start centers—one using implicit instruction and one teaching behavior explicitly—over a period of 5 months. Observational data showed that the children that learned school behavior through implicit teaching techniques better internalized school behavior and, by extension, middle class codes.


Early childhood education Classroom management Culture Socioeconomic class Head start