Cultural Capital

The value teachers place on the activities children engage in outside of school.

In Lawrence Stenhouse’s wonderful book ‘An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development’ there is a list of pupils’ interests and activities ranked by how their teachers approved/disapproved of them. It is quite an interesting, in some cases extraordinary, list. It was part of a study entitled: ‘Values and Involvement in a Grammar School’ published in 1969. A list much of its time, of that type of school and also the interests of boys rather than girls. Between numbers 44 and 45, net approval jumps over into net disapproval, marked by an asterisk:

  1. Reading worthwhile books
  2. Camping
  3. Debating
  4. Theatre Visits
  5. Swimming
  6. Amateur Dramatics
  7. Painting and Drawing
  8. Athletics
  9. Playing an Instrument
  10. Listening to classical music
  11. Natural history
  12. Visiting picture galleries
  13. Playing cricket
  14. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
  15. Tennis
  16. Playing rugger (sic)
  17. Woodwork
  18. Keeping pets
  19. Being a scout or a member of the Boy’s Brigade
  20. Girl friend (fifth or sixth form)
  21. Holiday job
  22. Youth club
  23. Making radios, etc.
  24. Photography
  25. Playing soccer
  26. Badminton
  27. Cycling
  28. Choir singing
  29. Aero modelling
  30. Table tennis
  31. Doing science experiments at home
  32. Joining the A.T.C.
  33. Listening to jazz records
  34. Fishing
  35. Crosswords
  36. Collecting stamps, coins, etc.
  37. Going to public dances
  38. Roller skating
  39. Driving a car
  40. Bridge
  41. Reading science fiction
  42. Saturday job
  43. Going to the cinema once a week
  44. Belonging to a youth political movement
  45. Listening to pop records*
  46. Twisting or jiving*
  47. Going to soccer matches*
  48. Visiting jazz clubs*
  49. Scootering*
  50. Solo*
  51. Paper round*
  52. Wearing the latest teenage fashion*
  53. Hitch-hiking*
  54. Ten-pin bowling*
  55. Seeing X-certificate films*
  56. Billiards and snooker*
  57. Visiting public houses (legally)*
  58. Motor bike*
  59. Reading novels emphasising sex and violence*
  60. Smoking*

I wonder what a list of 60 interests would look like today and would anything make it below ‘smoking’ and anything above ‘Reading worthwhile books’ ? I’d be interested to read your ideas.

2 thoughts on “Cultural Capital

  1. Fascinating list. I wonder what ‘solo’ is? Strange that watching TV isn’t mentioned at all. I do hope the students in my school find time to twist and jive. I suppose gaming, watching Youtube, social media would be the big activities today but I think with all of those teacher approval depends what you are watching/playing or how you go about them.


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