Ethnicity - Internal factors
that affect differential
1 Labelling and teacher racism
1.1 (INTERACTIONIST VIEW) GILLBORN &
YOUDELL found that teachers were quicker
to discipline black pupils than others for the
same behaviour and it's due to the teachers'
racialised expectations. They often
misinterpreted black pupils' behaviour as
threatening which cause the pupils to
retaliate. Black boys have a higher exclusion
level from school, possibly because
(BOURNE) schools tend to see black boys as
a threat and start to label them negatively
which leads to exclusion. FOSTER found that
stereotypes of black pupils can lead to them
being placed in lower sets even if they have
the same ability as pupils in a higher set.
This can lead to lower levels of achievement.
1.2 WRIGHT studied a multi-ethnic
primary school and showed that
Asian pupils are also victims of
labelling. The school claimed to have
equal opportunities for everyone but
teachers were quite ethnocentric -
British culture and Standard English
were superior. Teachers assumed
that Asians would have a poor grasp
of English, so they left them out and
used simplistic English towards them.
As a result, Asian pupils felt isolated
because teachers easily ignored
them. The pupils were marginalised
and prevented from fully
participating, especially Asian girls.
2 Pupil responses and subcultures
2.1 (rejecting negative labels) FULLER studies
a group of Year 11 black girls in a London
comprehensive school and they were high
achievers. The girls channelled their anger
about being labelled into the pursuit of
educational success. They were friends
with the black girls in the lower streams.
They worked conscientiously but appeared
not to - they acted this way in order to
avoid ridicule from the black boys who
were mainly anti school. The girls also had
a positive attitude towards academics.
They maintained a positive self-image by
relying on their own efforts. They displayed
NO SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.
2.2 MAC AN GHAILL studied Black and Asian 6th
form students. How they responded to their
negative labels was based on their ethnic
group, gender and the nature of their former
schools. E.g. some girls who came from an all
girls school had greater academic
commitment and were therefore not
affected by negative labels.
2.3 MIRZA studied ambitious Black girls who
faced teacher racism, however they failed to
achieve their ambitions due to their coping
strategies being restrictive of their
opportunities. She found that teachers
discouraged black pupils from being
ambitious. Types of teacher racism: THE
COLOUR-BLIND, teachers who believe all
pupils are equal but in practice allow racism
to go unchallenged. THE LIBERAL
CHAUVINISTS, teachers who believe Black
pupils are culturally deprived and have low
expectations of them. THE OVERT RACISTS,
teachers who believe Blacks are inferior and
actively discriminate against them. This meant
that most of the girls' time was spent trying to
avoid the teachers' negative attitudes.
2.4 SEWELL studied a boys' secondary school and found that
teachers had a stereotype of 'black machismo' which
leads to Black boys are more likely to be excluded from
school. Responses to racist stereotyping: THE REBELS,
most visible and influential group but a small minority.
They reject both goals and school rules, as well as
conforming to the 'macho' stereotype. They believed they
were superior. THE CONFORMISTS, the largest group.
They were keen to succeed and had friends from
different ethnic groups. They were not part of a
subculture and anxious to avoid being stereotyped. THE
RETREATISTS, tiny minority of isolated individuals who
were disconnected from everyone and school, also were
despised by the rebels. THE INNOVATORS, second largest
group. Pro education but anti-school. They valued
success but did not seek approval of the teachers.
2.5 CRITICISM. There are
outside school factors such
as the media, family and the
government that can affect
how well a student does. It is
not only the self-fulfilling
prophecy that can limit
3 The ethnocentric curriculum
3.1 An attitude or policy that gives priority to the culture/viewpoint of one particular ethnic group.
3.1.1 TROYNA &WILLIAMS describes the curriculum in
British schools as ethnocentric. DAVID says the National
Curriculum is 'specifically British' as it teaches the
culture of the 'host community', while ignoring
non-European languages, etc. BALL says the National
Curriculum ignores cultural/ethnic diversity. COARD
explains that this kind of curriculum can lead to under
achievement e.g. British history shows them as
bringing civilisation to the 'primitive' people, which
undermines the children's self-esteem.
3.1.2 CRITICISM. STONE argues that black children don't all
suffer from low'self-esteem.
4 Institutional racism
4.1 TROYNA & WILLIAMS look at how schools and colleges as
a whole discriminate. INDIVIDUAL RACISM: results from
the prejudiced views of individuals. INSTITUTIONAL
RACISM: discrimination that is built into the way a
school/college operates. HATCHER found that the schools
he studied give low priority to race issues. There is no
formal channel of communication between school
governors and ethnic minority parents. As a result, there is
nothing done about the lack of language support.
5 Selection and segregation
5.1 GILLBORN argues that marketisation allows for negative
stereotypes to influence decisions on school admissions.
MOORE & DAVENPORT found that schools discriminated
against 'problem students' by altering the admissions
process so that it favours the white, M/C pupils.
(ETHNICALLY STRATIFIED EDUCATION SYSTEM).
5.2 A report from THE COMMISSION FOR RACIAL EQUALITY
identifies biases in the British education. Ethnic minority
children are more likely to end up in unpopular schools. This is
because there is racist bias in interviews for school places, lack
of information/forms in minority languages and ethnic
minority parents are often unaware of how the school
application system works.
6 EVANS argued that we have to look at ethnicity, class and gender to fully understand the relationship
between ethnicity and achievement. CONNOLLY studied 5/6 year olds in a multi-ethnic primary school.
Pupils and teachers construct masculinity depending on a child's ethnicity. Black boys were seen as more
disruptive and were punished more. This led to them seeking status in non-academic ways such as
playing football. Asian pupils were seen as passive and seen as conformists. The Asian boys were seen as
more keen and when they misbehaved they were seen as being immature. They were picked on by other
boys to assert their own masculinity so people saw Asian boys as more feminine and vulnerable.