Author Biography

Victor Brar is a scholar-practitioner with a focus on praxis. He is currently an elementary practitioner in the Surrey (BC) School District with over 15 years of class room experience. He is also an adjunct professor at UBC in Faculty of Education. His research interests lie in the areas of social reproduction and inner-city schools, particularly as they relate to the scholarship of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.


This paper emerges from a 2016 conceptual study borne out of an ongoing practitioner inquiry in which I, as a practicing K-12 inner-city Canadian teacher, tried to understand, on a theoretical level, why the children at my inner-city school in Vancouver consistently underperform in an academic sense in spite of being provided with additional learning resources. The achievement gap that exists between British Columbia’s inner-city children and their more affluent peers cannot be adequately explained by differences in finances alone, but it has sociological roots, which I explored in this study. To understand the achievement gap, I chose to filter it through Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice (1992) and evaluate the effectiveness of his theory in being able to effectively explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how of this problem for me as an inner-city educator. Methodologically, I utilized the qualitative approach of hermeneutics (Gadamer, 2013) to fuse my horizon with that of Bourdieu so as to develop a deep understanding of his Theory of Practice and its core concepts of cultural capital, habitus, field, and symbolic violence, and their implications for inner-city school children. Hermeneutics permitted me to uncover multiple layers of theoretical evidence that I used ultimately to make an inductive argument that finds in favor of using theory of practice to understand academic underperformance among British Columbia’s inner-city school children. This paper is a presentation of the theoretical merits of Theory of Practice as an analytical lens for practitioners who wish to understand the achievement gap. This paper also explains how the efficacy of Theory of Practice can be enhanced when it is coupled with Lareau’s (2013) scholarship on class-based parenting practices. My second paper provides practitioner-scholars who are exploring this topic with recommendations as to how best to use Theory of Practice for maximum benefit.