Educational legitimation and parental aspiration: private tutoring in Perth, Western Australia

Jenny Davis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Private tuition is a well-established feature of the Australian education system. It is estimated to be a billion dollar a year industry. Furthermore, international research indicates that private tuition is ubiquitous worldwide. Despite its scope, the tuition industry in Australia receives little attention from academics, mainstream educators or government regulators. The study reported in this thesis sought to redress this oversight by conducting an in-depth investigation into the phenomenon of private tuition for primary-school aged children in Perth, Western Australia. The overarching aim was to develop theory about how private tuition impacts on the lives of the tutors, students and families involved in the tuition industry. To achieve this aim this thesis presents case studies of five tuition providers who operate outside of school hours on private fee-paying bases. The qualitative data for the case studies comprise interviews with the key stakeholders, observations conducted in the field and documents gathered at the field sites. A total of 26 participants were interviewed, including administrators, tutors, parents and children. The data were analysed using grounded theory techniques modified to accommodate insights from Pierre Bourdieu's work on education. The findings are based on both case-by-case and cross-case analyses. In the early stages Bourdieuian concepts of cultural capital, habitus and field were used to inform the analysis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Chapman, Anne, Supervisor
  • O'Neill, Marnie, Supervisor
Award date29 Oct 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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