Conceptualising the Roma Child and the Roma Parent in Pedagogical Contexts
Lucija Klun and Maša Bartol

Summary:  While collaborating with Roma families (as student volunteers through various projects) we gradually perceived: 1. That families themselves are very diverse; 2. That no matter the diversity, educational paths of Roma children play out in »predictable ways« - with learning difficulties, diagnosed special needs, segregation and early school leaving. Formal ideology (on European and national levels) is inclined towards integration/inclusion, but in the every-day educational settings, pedagogical workers (re)construct Roma difference as a deficiency. Assimilation and segregation thus become inevitable institutional »procedures« to compensate for assumed deficits and enable »real« equality of opportunity and lastly, successful integration into the majority society. We interviewed 11 pedagogical workers employed in kindergartens, schools and special education schools in Ljubljana and analysed how they conceptualised »the Roma parent« and »the Roma child/student«. And embedded the found (ad-hoc) conceptualisations into the wider (historical and structural) presentations of »romaness« as a problem that needs solving/a deficit that needs »correction«.

Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies is
published with support of Slovenian Research Agency.