This assignment should be used after students read “How Schools Really Matter” by Douglas B. Downey and Benjamin G. Gibbs (found in the most recent issue of Contexts).  The article would also work great paired with excerpts from Annette Lareau’s Unequal Childhoods. For example, it could be paired with the first 10 pages of the book.

Once students have read these two pieces, assign a short reflection essay as homework or as an in-class reflection  Potential directions include the following:

In this short response, you should reflect on your childhood.  Develop a list of the resources you had in your household and the extracurricular activities that you were enrolled in (both through school and outside of school).  Think about how these various resources contributed to your intellectual development.  Did your parents have a very “hands-on” (concerted cultivation) approach or were they more “hands-off” (natural growth model)?