Class Differences in Achievement (External)


A-Levels Sociology - Education Mind Map on Class Differences in Achievement (External), created by orlaghemmett on 05/04/2013.
Mind Map by orlaghemmett, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by orlaghemmett over 10 years ago

Resource summary

Class Differences in Achievement (External)
  1. Social class background has a powerful influence success in the education system
    1. Cultural Deprivation
      1. Theorists argue that most of us begin to acquire the basic values, attitudes & skills that are need for educational success through primary socialisation in the family
        1. Three main aspects of cultural deprivation:
          1. Intellectual Development
            1. This refers to the development of thinking and reasoning skills e,g, ability to solve problems & use ideas and concepts
              1. Cultural deprivation theorists argue many W/C homes lack books, educational toys and activities that stimulate children's intellectual development
                1. Children from such homes start school without developed intellectual skills
                2. Bernstein & Douglas:
                  1. They found that the way mothers think & choose toys has an influence on their children's intellectual development
                    1. Middle-class mothers are more likely to choose toys that encourage thinking & reasoning skills
                  2. Language
                    1. The importance of language for educational achievement is highlighted but Bereiter & Engelmann
                      1. They claim that language used in lower-class homes is deficient
                        1. They describe lower-class families as communicating by gestures, single words or disjointed phrases.
                        2. Bernstein distinguishes between two types of speech code:
                          1. The Restricted Code
                            1. Typically used by working class
                              1. Has limited vocabulary and based on short, unfinished, grammatically simple sentences
                                1. Speech is predicable and may involve a simple word or even gesture
                                  1. Is context-bound
                                  2. The Elaborated Code
                                    1. Typically used by middle class
                                      1. Wider vocabulary and based on longer, grammatically more complex sentences
                                        1. Speech is more varied and communicates more complex abstract ideas
                                          1. Is more context-free
                                      2. Attitudes & Values
                                        1. Cultural Deprivation theorists argue..
                                          1. Parents' attitudes and values are a key factor affecting educational achievement
                                            1. Douglas found that W/C parents places less value on education, less ambitious for their children & took less interest in their eudcation
                                            2. That the lack of parental interest in their children's education reflects the subcultural values of the W/C
                                              1. A subculture is a group whose attitudes & values differ from those of the mainstream culture
                                              2. Large sections of the W/C have different goals, beliefs, attitudes & values from the rest of society and is why their children fail in school
                                              3. Hyman argues the values & beliefs of L/C subculture are a 'self-imposed barrier' to educational and career success
                                                1. Sugarman argues that W/C subculture has four key features that act as a barrier to educational achievement:
                                                  1. Fatalism
                                                    1. A belief in fate - that 'whatever will be, will be' and there is nothing you can do to change your status
                                                    2. Collectivism
                                                      1. Valuing being part of a group more than succeeding as an individual
                                                      2. Immediate Gratification
                                                        1. Seeking pleasure now rather than making sacrifices in order to get rewards in the future
                                                        2. Present-time Orientation
                                                          1. Seeing the present as more important than the future and so not having long-term goals or plans
                                                        3. W/C children internalise the beliefs & values if their subculture through the socialisation process
                                                      3. Compensatory Education
                                                        1. Is a policy designed to tackle the problem of cultural deprivation by providing extra resources to schools and communities in deprived areas
                                                          1. Programmes attempt to compensate children for the deprivation they experience at home
                                                            1. Best known example of this is Operation Head Start in the United States - its aim was 'planned enrichment' of the deprived child's enviroment
                                                        2. Myth of Cultural Deprivation
                                                          1. Although it draws attention to the child's background, the theory has been widely criticised as an explanation of class differences in achievement
                                                            1. Keddie describes cultural deprivation as a 'myth' & sees it as a victim blaming explanation
                                                              1. And argues that W/C children are simply culturally different, not culturally deprived
                                                              2. Critics reject the view that W/C parents are not interested in their children's education
                                                            2. Material Deprivation
                                                              1. Some sociologists see material deprivation as the main cause of under-achievement
                                                                1. 'Material Deprivation' refers to poverty & a lack of material necessities such as adequate housing & income
                                                                  1. Poverty is closely linked to educational under-achievement, there is a close link between poverty and social class
                                                                    1. W/C families are much more likely to have low incomes or inadequate housing
                                                                    2. Housing
                                                                      1. Poor housing can affect pupils' achievement both directly and indirectly e,g, overcrowding can have a direct effect by making it harder to study
                                                                        1. Overcrowding means less room for educational activities & no room to do homework
                                                                        2. Poor housing can have indirect effects on the child's health and welfare:
                                                                          1. Children in overcrowded homes run a greater risk of accidents
                                                                            1. Cold or damp housing can cause ill health, especially respiratory illnesses
                                                                        3. Diet & Health
                                                                          1. Howard notes young people from poorer homes have lower intakes of energy, vitamins and minerals
                                                                            1. Children from poorer homes are likely to have emotional or behavioural problems also
                                                                            2. Financial Support & The Costs of Education
                                                                              1. Lack of financial support means that children from poor families have to do without equipment and miss out on experiences that would enhance their achievement
                                                                                1. As a result, poor children will have to make do with hand-me-downs and cheaper but unfashionable equipment
                                                                                2. Lack of funds also means that children from low-income families often need to work
                                                                                  1. Ridge found that children in poverty take on jobs such as baby sitting, cleaning & paper rounds, this could have a negative impact on their schoolwork
                                                                              2. Cultural Capital
                                                                                1. Bourdieu: Three Types of Capital
                                                                                  1. Bourdieu argues that both cultural & material factors contribute to educational achievement and are not separate but interrelated
                                                                                    1. Educational & Economic Capital
                                                                                      1. Bourdieu argues that educational, economic and cultural capital can be converted into one another
                                                                                        1. For example, M/C children with cultural capital are better equipped to meet the demands of the school curriculum and gain qualifications
                                                                                          1. Wealthier parents can convert their economic capital into education capital by sending their children to private schools and paying extra tuition
                                                                                          2. A Test of Bourdieu's Ideas
                                                                                            1. Sullivan found that those who read complex fiction and watched serious TV documentaries developed a wider vocabulary and greater cultural knowledge
                                                                                              1. Although successful pupils with greater cultural capital were more likely to be M/C
                                                                                            2. Bordieu uses the term 'cultural capital' to refer to the knowledge, attitudes, values, language, tastes and abilities of the M/C
                                                                                              1. He sees M/C culture as a type of capital because, like wealth, it gives an advantage to those who possess it
                                                                                                1. By contrast, W/C children find that school devalues their culture as 'rough' and inferior
                                                                                              2. Gewirtz: Marketisation & Parental Choice
                                                                                                1. Since the creation of an 'education market' by the 1988 Education Reform Act, sociologists have been interested in the effect of increased parental choice that the Act introduced
                                                                                                  1. Gewirtz identifies three main types of parents, whom she calls:
                                                                                                    1. Privileged-skill choosers
                                                                                                      1. These were mainly professional M/C parents who used their economic and cultural capital to gain education capital for their children
                                                                                                        1. These parents possessed cultural capital
                                                                                                          1. They understood the importance of putting a particular school as first choice, meeting deadlines and using appeals procedures and waiting lists to get what they wanted
                                                                                                        2. Disconnected-local choosers
                                                                                                          1. These were mainly W/C parents whose choices were restricted by their lack of economic and cultural capital
                                                                                                            1. They found it difficult to understand school admissions and procedures
                                                                                                              1. They were less confident in their dealings with schools, less aware of the choices open to them, and were less able to manipulate the system to their own advantages
                                                                                                              2. Semi-skilled Choosers
                                                                                                                1. These were mainly W/C, but unlike the disconnected-local choosers, they were ambitious for their children
                                                                                                                  1. However, they too lacked cultural capital and found it difficult to make sense of the education market
                                                                                                                    1. they often rely on other people's opinions about schools
                                                                                                                    2. Qewirtz concludes that M/C families with cultural capital and economic capital are better placed to take advantage of the available opportunities for a good education
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