Minding the gap: Preparing the working class for success in academia

Dawn M. Armfield, Shadow W Armfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While many books and articles, including autobiographical accounts, have been written about the working class student and the difficulties of navigating academia, little has been published about the meaning that a working class presence has in academia, and how to bridge the divides between knowing, understanding, and connecting with academic structures and practices when there is little institutional infrastructure to support those needs. This chapter builds on previous research and theory and focus on the teaching structures required to support students as they move from working class backgrounds into academia. We begin by addressing the structures that are in place that limit working class individuals from success in higher education, including familial and economic restraints and connecting with faculty and students who have little comprehension of the constraints placed upon working class academics. We then define how teaching methodologies and practices drawn from understandings of andragogy and adult learning theory can reduce exclusionary practices and create open, inclusive, and supportive learning environments regardless of socio-economic background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBuilding for a Sustainable Future in Our Schools
Subtitle of host publicationBrick by Brick
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319124032
ISBN (Print)9783319124025
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Adult learning theory
  • Andragogy
  • Narrative
  • Social justice
  • Systemic prejudice
  • Working class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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