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Assess the view that the working-class underachievement is the result of home circumstances and family background.

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Introduction

´╗┐Assess the view that the working-class underachievement is the result of home circumstances and family background. (20 marks) There are many factors that can contribute to a child?s underachievement, including home factors as well as school factors. Home factors, such as a family background, can cause a child to underachieve at school. Research such as Basil Bernstein found that the working-class parents and children use a rather restricted language code, whilst the middle-class parents and children use an elaborated language code. Normally, at school a more elaborated language code is used by teachers. This may not be an issue for middle-class pupils as they are used to speaking in an elaborated language code. However, this may mean that the working-class children may find it rather difficult to understand what the teacher is saying because of the fact that they are used to speaking in a restricted language code at home, where sentences are predictable and less complicated, so the sentences or words that a teacher may use may be new to them. If the working-class pupils do not understand a meaning of a word or phrase that the teachers uses, this may be ...read more.

Middle

maybe their parents also got a job when they too were at a young age, so the working-class pupils may follow their parents? footsteps and this may mean that they may end up not being bothered about their education, which would mean that they may stop working hard in school, which would then eventually lead to them to underachieve at school. However, the study by Sugarman has got some weaknesses. One weakness is the fact that it lacks validity because the study is androcentric (he only used males in his study), so generalisation cannot be made. It cannot be assumed that all the working-class pupils will seek immediate gratification. In 1984, Bourdiue (a Marxist) stated that the working-class are culturally and economically deprived. This may mean that working-class children may not have enough resources and support from home that would help enhance and further develop their knowledge and motivate them to work hard at school. Unlike the middle-class, who possess the cultural and economic capital, the working-class pupils may be led to follow their parent?s footsteps, which may simply be to get any low skilled jobs, so instead of working hard at school to ...read more.

Conclusion

Some sociologists may argue that this may mean that the working-class pupils would not get access to the same curriculum as those in higher streams which would mean that they would be limited in what they are taught, which would mean that they are likely to underachieve. So, this reproduces inequality of achievement that the New Labour tried to reduce since 1997. However, other sociologists may argue and say that even if the working-class pupils were given the same curriculum as those in the higher streams, they would still underachieve because they would lack the extra help and support needed from home. For example, if a child was given homework that they don?t understand, their parents wouldn?t be able to help them with their homework anyway as they may also lack knowledge and understanding or they may not have time to sit down to help their child, so if that child had to do the same curriculum as the middle-class pupils, who get the extra support from home, then it may be rather inevitable that the child would underachieve at school. Overall, there is no doubt that the working-class underachievement is not caused by home factors alone, but that other factors such as school factors can contribute to the underachievement too. ...read more.

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