Outline and assess the view that in school factors have the main influence on the educational achievement of different social classes (50 Marks)
- The Curriculum
What is taught in schools disadvantages working class pupils. The knowledge taught in school is different to the cultural experiences of working class pupils. For example, History deals with the ruling class such as kings, queens and politicians, rather than the majority of ordinary people.
Cultural Bias of the hidden curriculum favours middle class pupils. This may lead the underachievement and truancy of those from working class backgrounds. Ramsay argues that knowledge is used as a form of social control and that there is a hidden curriculum behind the subjects of Maths and English to keep the working class in their place. Ramsay argues that truancy is a protest against this pressure.
- Teacher Labelling
Interactionists study the interactions between teacher & student and student & student. Their ...view middle of the document...
These students were typically middle class.
Keddie found that teachers categorised pupils based on their social backgrounds; WC pupils typically put on C streams, whilst MC pupils were typically placed on “A” Streams.
Becker – The Ideal Pupil
Becker studied the way teacher’s judge and classifies pupils. He found that teachers shared a common image of the “ideal pupil” who conformed to middle class standards of behaviour such as being well behaved and motivated. Teachers used this model to judge their pupils, which resulted in positive and negative labels. These labels of the ideal pupil led to a self-fulfilling prophecy; therefore students would match their teacher’s views. Middle class students were more likely to be positively labelled by their teachers and as a result succeeded. However this data is very deterministic as not all teachers’ stereotype and label pupils and not all pupils accept the labels.
- Teacher attitudes
Ball (1981) found that students were affected bt teacher attitudes; those who were placed in band 1 “warmed to education” whereas hose in band 2 and 3 typically underachieved. Those from band 1 mostly contained pupils from non-manual backgrounds, whereas those from band 2 were socially mixed and band 3 was from manual backgrounds.
- Material Deprivation
Willis – Counter school subculture
- Language differences
- Cultural/ Material Deprivation
Conor Et Al (2001) found that being socialised into poverty means working class students are less likely to want to go to university than middle class students because they are more ‘debt conscious’.
- Cultural Capital
Middle class parents have the skills to research the best schools and the ability to help children with homework – and to intervene in schools if a child falls behind.
Hall Et Al suggests that MC can use their cultural capital to play the school system. However, cultural capital only advantages a child because it gets them into a good school –suggesting that it is the school that matters at least as much as home background. There wouldn’t be such a fuss over, and such competition between parents over schools if the school a child went to didn’t have a major impact on a child’s education (critical point)