How do we become who we are? What experiences contribute to forging our ways of thinking and behaving, our understanding of the world and ways of acting in it? It is the words we are told as children by our parents and caregivers, those ordinary dialogues fading in our memories that constitute the bedrock of our social identities and draw the thickest lines of our future development. The present book focuses precisely on such mundane family conversations. In particular, it deals with an activity that characterizes the routine of most families, one that has been attracting increasing attention and critiques: homework.
Zooming in on parent-child conversations, this volume shows that homework is far more than a subject-related, learning-oriented activity characterized by intentional practices of instruction. In subtle yet pervasive ways, it affords moral talk promoting children’s socialization into culture-specific ethical worldviews. Lingering on the ‘small talk’ that constitutes the fabric of parent-assisted homework, this volume shows how moral horizons and cultural ideologies are pervasively assumed, put into words, and transmitted to children in the unfolding of such a mundane activity, thus providing evidence for the educational richness of ordinary family life.
Vittoria Colla, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and adjunct professor at the University of Bologna. She received her PhD in Education from the University of Bologna with a thesis on socialization practices and the interactive construction of the family-school partnership in parent-child homework conversations. For her thesis, she was awarded the prize Huguette Desmet by the Association Internationale de Formation et de Recherche en Education Familiale. Her research focuses on family interactions and education practices in ordinary life events, such as mealtime and homework. Furthermore, she conducts research on doctor-patient interactions, mainly in oncological visits and primary care visits with unaccompanied foreign minors.