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Boffins - WWI Emotions

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 09 September 2009

New research on a group of high achieving 12 and 13-year-old children could provide insight into why children underachieve in school. Laurie Taylor talks to Becky Francis from Roehampton University, one of the authors of a new report into the uneasy relationship between being clever and popular.

Laurie finds out how children negotiate being both academically successful and liked by their peers, and the differences in classroom experience for boys and girls. While a boy can avoid being bullied if he is both sporty and successful, girls are more likely to be picked on and seen as asexual if they do well in school. Does the risk of being bullied or labelled a 'swot' prompt children of both sexes to avoid performing to their best ability?

Also, Laurie explores the letters sent home by soldiers in WWI and what they reveal about the emotional experience of war. He talks to Michael Roper and Joanna Bourke about the role of the connection between the home front and the battlefield, and why it was critical in helping soldiers cope with the horrors of war.

  • Professor Becky Francis

    Becky Francis, Professor of Education in the School of Education at Roehampton University

    The Role of the Boffin as Abject Other in Gendered Performances of School Achievement
    by Becky Francis, Christine Skelton and Barbara Read
    Forthcoming Sociological Review (November 2009)

    Find out more about Becky Francis
  • Professor Michael Roper

    Professor Michael Roper, Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex

    The Secret Battle: Emotional Survival in the Great War
    Publisher: Manchester University Press
    ISBN-10: 0719079187
    ISBN-13: 978-0719079184

    Commemorating War: The Politics of Memory
    Publisher: Transaction Publishers, U.S
    ISBN-10: 0765808153
    ISBN-13: 978-0765808158

    Find out more about Michael Roper
  • Professor Joanna Bourke

    Joanna Bourke, Professor of history in the school of History Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College

    An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-face Killing in Twentieth-century Warfare
    Publisher: Granta Books
    ISBN-10: 186207321X
    ISBN-13: 978-1862073210

    Find out more about Joanna Bourke



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