Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Concerns regarding differentials in classroom experience and academic attainment by ethnicity have been expressed for some time. This study explores, from a quantitative viewpoint based on fieldwork in 10 London schools, one particular aspect of this, namely classroom interactions between teachers and pupils from different ethnic origins. It was found that African Caribbean children were interacting with teachers at a greater rate than other children, mostly for disciplinary and administrative purposes, and to a much lesser extent for teaching purposes. Asian children, conversely, were interacting less with the teacher overall, but relatively highly for teaching purposes. Whilst these patterns were broadly consistent across schools, rates of interaction varied considerably from school to school. In respect of differential classroom interactions, better equality of opportunities is more likely to be achieved as a result of whole school processes than if it is targeted directly.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties