1.1 Focus on processes in school & other educational
institutions to explain differential achievement.
1.2 Teachers may label pupils, or classify them into different types,
& then act towards them on the basis of this classification.
2.1 Hargreaves, Hester & Mellor (1975) found factors such as a
pupil's appearance, how they respond to discipline, etc. leads
teachers attaching labels to them as "good/bad" pupils.
2.2 Once given a label, teachers tend to interpret
behaviour in terms of the label, & pupils tend to live up
to the label.
2.3 This results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which the label
results in the behaviour predicted by the teacher.
3 Social class & labelling
3.1 Many interactionists claim that social class background
affects the way that teachers label pupils.
3.2 MC pupils fit teacher's stereotype of the ideal
pupil better than WC pupils & hence WC pupils
are more likely to be labelled as deviant/lazy.
3.3 Labelling can lead to pupils being placed in ablity groupings
within school. Lower class pupils may be more likely to be
placed in lower sets, bands or strems.
3.3.1 These lower groupings are likely to be seen as less able
& as more likely to be distruptive. This can lead to the
formation of pupil subculutures
220.127.116.11 Lower streams or sets are more likely to form anti-school
subcultures. Among these pupils, academic work is not valued &
peer groups encourage deviant behavious & discourage hard work.
4 Mac an Ghaill (1994) - Labelling & peer groups
4.1 This study demonstrates how class interacts with gender in shaping achievement
4.2 Studies WC students in a Midlands comprehensive school. The school had divided
pupils into 3 sets, as a result, 3 distinct, male WC peer groups developed.
4.2.1 1) Macho lads - academic failures who became hostile to the
school & were usually from less skilled WC backgrounds.
18.104.22.168 2) Academic achievers - academic successes usually from
skilled WC backgrounds, they tried hard at school.
22.214.171.124.1 3) New enterprisers - had a positive attitude to school &
saw the vocational curriculum as a route to career success.
5 All main types of inequality (class, gender & ethnicity)
act together in shaping educational achievement.
6 Evaluation of Interactionist approaches
6.1 Advantages of Interactionist studies
6.1.1 Often based on detailed evidence
6.1.2 Show factors operating in school can have
significant impact on educational achievement,
6.2 Criticisms of Interactionist studies
6.2.1 Fail to explain where wider class
inequalities come from.
6.2.2 Ignore factors outside school such as material/cultural
factors which affect achievement.
6.2.3 Use simplified models of pupil
subcultures & do not identify the full
range of responses to school.
6.2.4 Not all pupils live up to labelling by teachers. Study by Margret Fuller (1984) found that a group of
black WC girls who were labelled as likely failures responded by working harder to achieve success.