Do you have expectations of children's behaviour which may be different from the expectations of your colleagues? If you are not working in a service, reflect on your expectations of behaviour...

Do you have expectations of children's behaviour which may be different from the expectations of your colleagues? If you are not working in a service, reflect on your expectations of behaviour against your class mates or family friend's expectations. Explain these similarities and differences.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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When you address this prompt, you will want to take into account (1) the society you are in, for example, living in Australia, which has a strong British underpinning, (2) the sociocultural and ethnic differences between yourself and your colleagues/friends/family and the socioeconomic backgrounds of each. In addition, you will want to consider (3) all these same factors for the children being considered.

Starting with the last first, studies have shown that expectations of childrens' behavior is heavily influenced by perceived stereotypes associated with the child's (or their parents') social, cultural, economic and/or ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, children from low sociocultural and economic families and regions are expected to perform in all areas (intellect, behavior, social correctness, etc) at a deficit in comparison to children of the same age but from high sociocultural-economic families and regions. Similarly, children from what are termed disadvantaged ethnic groups, such as African-American or Mexican, are expected to perform poorly in all areas, while children from what are termed advantaged ethnic groups, such as Japanese and upper class Caucasian, are expected to perform with excellence in all (or most) areas.

Sociocultural expectations between yourself and your associates (be they colleagues, family or friends) can vary both according to your homeland and to your ethnic background, taking into consideration that there may be an important mix of sociocultural, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds among you depending upon immigration status, ethnic diversity and homeland similarity (or difference).

As one example, if, for instance, you are an Australian with English ancestry and two of your colleagues are South African Afrikaner and Japanese, you can expect, based upon sociocultural and ethnic differences, that while all of you value social skills and politeness in children, there will be differences in how individual expectations require these traits to be manifest and demonstrated. For example, Japanese sociocultural expectations require children demonstrate a level of emotional maturity that allows them to unfalteringly perform social rituals at an early age, while English-Australian expectations respect less emotional maturity and accept freedom of individualism in children of early ages.

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