Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 1975 Issue »

    Gatekeeping and the Melting Pot

    Interaction in Counseling Encounters

    Frederick Erickson
    To what extent do junior college counselors advise students on the basis of nominally objective criteria such as grades, aptitude scores and available job or college slots? To what extent do they judge students' potential on other grounds generated interactionally, such as race, ethnicity, appearance or communication style? This article explores the relationship of social identity, cultural communication style and the gatekeeping process. By analyzing films, videotapes and the participants' reactions, the author tested the hypotheses that the more alike counselors and students were in terms of social identity and communication style, the more smoothly the counseling interaction would proceed and the more special help counselors were likely to give students. While the hypotheses were confirmed in general, the author found that race, ethnicity and cultural style could be overridden by other factors. After a discussion of the theories behind interactional dynamics, the author presents the data collected in this study of junior college counseling and discusses the implications of his findings for reorganizing gatekeeping encounters.

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    Spring 1975 Issue

    Abstracts

    Busing for Racial Balance
    Not One Judge's Opinion
    Morgan v. Hennigan and the Boston Schools
    Roger I. Abrams
    Reforming Educational Policy With Applied Social Research
    David K. Cohen, Michael S. Garet
    Gatekeeping and the Melting Pot
    Interaction in Counseling Encounters
    Frederick Erickson
    Educational Goals and Schooling in a Therapeutic Community
    Stephen M. Bookbinder
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