There are many ways in which cultural deprivation may lead to educational under-achievement in working-class pupils. The term ‘Culture’ refers to all the norms, values, beliefs, skills and knowledge that a society or group regards as important. This culture is transmitted to the next generation through socialisation. According to cultural deprivation theories, some working class parents fail to transmit the appropriate norms, values, attitudes, knowledge and skills – that is the ‘right’ ...view middle of the document...
One factor being the lack of intellectual stimulation. Working class families are less likely to give their children educational toys and activities that will stimulate their thinking and reasoning skills, and less likely to read them. This effects their intellectual development so that when they begin school they are at a disadvantage compared with middle-class children.
Another factor responsible for working-class under-achievement is the restricted speech code. Bernstein (1975) distinguishes between elaborated and restricted speech codes. He says that the working class use the restricted code. The restricted speech code is less analytic and more descriptive, has a limited vocabulary and is formed of simple sentences or even just gestures. The middle class however, use the elaborated code. This is more analytic, with a wide range of vocabulary and complex sentences. Crucially, the elaborated code is the one used in education, by teachers, exams, textbooks, university interviews etc. This gives the middle class an educational advantage.
Yet another factor responsible for working-class under-achievement is the working-class subculture. Cultural deprivationist theorists identify three aspects of working-class subculture that contribute to under-achievement. One aspect is immediate gratification – wanting rewards now rather than being