Case Study Report

The Facts

Matthew Ranker is a 12-year-old Australian born boy, who lives in Bankstown and goes to a private catholic school called Bankstown Grammar. Matthew serves as an altar boy once a week and studies two hours a night. If he could change anything about school he would change the amount of homework he has, choice of subjects and the time children must attend. He would like a school day to be five hours long and only four days a week but would prefer if children could stay at home and learn through their computers. A teacher of his choice would have to be kind, considerate and flexible. He imagines that he will receive a TER of 95 and will gain awards in Japanese Studies, Mathematics, and English. That he will be a House Captain of School, School Prefect and Dux of class (year 8). He thinks laptop computers and space travel school should be available to children in the future.

He watches four hours a day of television and his favorite shows are charmed, Every body loves Raymond and Seinfeld. He uses a computer at home and is into Nintendo. He speaks English and is learning to speak Japanese and French and one of his parents was born in the Philippines. The other was born in Australia. Both his parents are working, his mother is a Super-annuation Administrator whose hobby is reading and his father is a City Rail Customer Service officer whose hobby is fishing. Matthew thinks his father would like him to become an Airforce pilot, a computer scientist or a police officer and his mother would like him to become an Air Force pilot, IT commerce or a Lawyer. For himself, Matthew has aspirations of becoming an Air-Force Pilot, Commercial Pilot or a Lawyer. He wants to own a BMW car, a large house with a pool and an Alaskan Malamute dog.

He sees, doing his school certificate, HSC, and going to University as the three most significant or important events that he will have had in his life in the next 20 years. He hopes that everything will turn out well in the future, that Australia will be a better place with high computer technology and a place of peace. That Australia would remain a free and neutral country but fears, civil war, pollution and another country declaring war on Australia. He feels that his career will give him the most satisfaction and expects to be a leader in his field because of his determination and that his personal ability and drive will get him ahead. He is interested in world news and has traveled to America, Europe, Canada and the Philippines and plans to go back although he expects to spend most of his life in Australia.

He feels that his family and relatives will be available when needed both personally and financially and if he had a large some of money would like to buy them a large house. He would also buy a large house for himself and a good brand car. He would like to marry at 30 because he feels that at that time he will be ready and considers, attitude, responsibility and image the three most important qualities to consider in a partner. At 31 he would like to start a family, and have two children. In the year 2020 he envisions listening to music watching and playing rugby league and fishing as his leisure pursuits, interests or hobbies. In 2004 he imagines that he worked for McDonalds as a part time customer office earning $5 dollars and hour. In 2006 Harvey Norman as a part time customer service office and in 2011 for the RAAF as a Pilot earning $80,000 a year with the responsibility of defending Australia in war. By 2020, for references he will have a manager of Harvey Norman, a police officer and a captain of the Air Force. The Manager will be able to comment on his abilities, the police officer on his attitude and the captain on his special talents.

Relevant ABN Stastics

The City of Bankstown is a sub-region of the Sydney Metropolitan Area. The Bankstown Local Government Area (L.G.A.) covers an area of approximately 78 Square kilometers and a population of 157,735 people recorded at the 1996 Census. The estimated population now is 167,839. The number of young people living in Bankstown City is 29,809 or 18.95% of the total population. Bankstown has the fourth largest population of youth of the eleven LGA's in the Western Sydney Region. (1)

Bankstown is a multicultural city with 32.2%(2) of its population born overseas and 28%(3) , born in a country where the language spoken was other than English. Over 60 different languages are spoken in Bankstown City with 40.2% of those aged over 5 years speaking a language other than English.(4)

 Highest qualifications  Bankstown  Australia
 Bachelor degree   4.02%  6.02%
 Post grad. Diploma  0.50%   1.02%
 Higher degree   0.54%  1.07%

This is interesting to consider as Matthew's mother was born in the Philippines yet Matthew has stated that English is his only spoken language and that he his learning Japanese and French. This assimilation(5) of values of the dominant white Anglo culture at the expense of his Malaysian roots could be considered what Eric Erikson calls "Preencounter"(6). In keeping with this, his career choice of Air Force Pilot, commercial pilot and lawyer and his desires to be married at 31 with two kids seem also to belong to the values of the white majority middle class. His high aspirations for career are unusual for Bankstown as this table below indicates only 0.54% of Bankstown's population go on to earn higher degrees.(7)

Comments about case study

Matthew plans do seem plausible bearing in mind the fact that Matthew attends a private Catholic school and spends an average of two hours a night studying and is achieving high grades. He also has the support of both parents, who both have had a higher education and they both want him to become a professional of some sort. In terms of James Marcia's theory, the Four Statuses of Identity, Commitment is a part of identity development in which adolescents show a personal investment in what they are going to do.(8) Matthew has certainly made a commitment judging by his personal statement, which was a drawing of himself in his RAAF Captain's, uniform with the fighter plane in the background. Although there is a contradiction in the fact that he would change the amount of homework he had to do which would seem to indicate that he does not really like studying. The other thing I wonder about is at the age of 12 how sure is anyone of what they want to do for the rest of their life. So to me Matthew is in Identity foreclosure the term Marcia describes adolescents who have made a commitment but have not experienced a crisis.(9) I think because his three choices all call for some level of commitment, dedication and a higher education the crisis that Matthew faces will not be the same as a low achiever who hates school and has no idea of what they want to do. His crises may come in Stage 3 of Marcia's theory: Immersion/Emmersion - At the beginning of this stage - immersion- ethnic minority individuals completely endorse minority views and reject the dominant society.(10) Which conflicts with where he is at in Identity foreclosure, stuck in the dominant society's values. He may be shielded a little from this by the fact that he is growing up in a multicultural city with the majority of the population having an ethnic background. Other things that will help this transition is that is seems clear that he has the love and support of his family and he will continue to achieve at school. Two things that will contribute to his raising his self esteem.(11)

1. 2000 Bankstown City Profile prepared by the Strategy and policy unit, Bankstown City Council
Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition (1993)Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (p 312)
Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition(1993) Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (p 353)
Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition(1993) Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (349)
Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition(1993) Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (349)
.Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition(1993) Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (355)
Santrock., John W., Fifth Edition(1993) Adolescence an Introduction, University of Texas, Dallas Brown and Benchmark (342)

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