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Assess the view that subcultures are the key to underachievment in school

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Assess the view that pupil subcultures are the key to understanding educational underachievement. A subculture is a culture within a culture where a group develop distinctive norms and values that are different from those of the mainstream culture. Subcultures can exist in both a positive and negative way and during education these opposite subcultures are at their most noticeable. These two subculture s in school are called pro school subculture (positive) and an anti school subculture (negative) each sharing very different views of school. A pro school culture is a culture within the schools environment that agrees and bases their norms and values around the rules that are set by the school. This is generally the group that contains the high academic achievers within the school gaining the top grades. An anti school subculture is again a culture within the school environment but this subculture base there norms and values to contradict and deny the rules of the schooling environment. Evidence suggests that it is because of anti school subcultures schooling experiences under achievement. ...read more.


An example of this is labelling. The labelling theory was introduced by Becker and has been supported by Cicourel, Kitsuse and Hargreave's, as they also believe that people are labelled a lot within schooling environments. Beckers study of labelling suggest teachers within a class room label their students with either a positive or negative label very early on within their education. The teacher then treats them according to their label by using the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is what we are taught in school and is not within the hidden curriculum. For example behaviour and manners. The teacher then constantly treats the children as their labels until the child becomes their label. This process of the child becoming their label is called the self-fulfilling prophecy. So if you are given a negative label you start behaving badly because of the way you are treated you begin to believe that you should act against the norms and values. Because they then become there negative label they are set and streamed into the bottom sets within subjects meaning they cannot achieve grades and don't achieve grades so they then become under achievers within education. ...read more.


For example he believed negative labelling would lead to the pupil self fulfilling that label and therefore get set and streamed into lower ability groups therefore meaning they will not gain the grades they are capable of. Therefore meaning that they are underachieving. In conclusion to this I feel that yes anti school subcultures are a key part of educational under achievement as they strive to break the rules of the schooling system. This then causes under achievement, as it is there subcultures norm to under achieve. So in this respect anti school sub cultures are one of the factors for under achievements within education but I feel there are also many other important contributions to this as well. For example I feel that teachers negatively labelling students also creates the self-fulfilling prophecy and then means there are more students likely to underachieve. Also I feel another contributing factor is setting and streaming as it limits the pupils maximum potential. So in conclusion I feel that sub cultures within schooling are a factor but there are many others that also affect underachievement on an equal basis. Chris Fox ...read more.

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