Deregulation and personalization in elite schools: Teacher’s work and the production of privileged groups

Sandra Ziegler


The following article is based on a qualitative research developed in three Buenos Aires City and Buenos Aires Province high-schools that define themselves “elite educational institutions”.  Our purpose is to analyze the pedagogical work conducted by these institutions in relation to how they monitor their students’ trajectories and its examination systems. On the one hand, we identify strategies of personalization that account for an institutional set-up with close links between teachers and students, which enables them to overcome the hurdles to a system based on international exams. On the other, strategies of autonomy devolve to students’ responsibility for their own results, encouraging them to compete amongst themselves. These differences are connected to the academic selection systems established by each of the institutions. By inquiring into these dynamics, we have a better understanding of how these institutions function and how they contribute to the processes of socialization and reproduction of specific segments aimed at occupying elite positions. This paper also addresses the role played by the teachers as symbolic facilitators who, through their work, contribute to the selection of those groups.


secondary education; personalized education; teacher/student relationships; elites; Argentina


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