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Evaluate the arguments and evidence for the view that poverty and material deprivation are the most important barriers to educational attainment. (20)

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Introduction

Evaluate the arguments and evidence for the view that poverty and material deprivation are the most important barriers to educational attainment. (20) It is assumed by some people that there is a major relationship between social class and education, i.e. the higher class the child the better the educational achievement. Many of these people assume that poverty and material deprivation are the main barriers. Douglas, a sociologist who also believes that out-school factors such as poverty and material deprivation affect the child's educational attainment, has done a study to prove this. Douglas examined the careers of 5,362 British born children. He followed them through primary school and secondary school up to the age of 16. He found that the length of stay in education was related to social class, as the middle classes stayed longer in education. Middle class parents were seen to express greater interest in their child's education. The parents visiting the school more frequently and encouraging children to stay on at school, resulting in higher educational attainment levels, displayed this. Douglas argued that during primary socialisation, middle class children received more attention from their families and this contributes to their higher achievement. ...read more.

Middle

The working class were more concerned with immediate enjoyment and therefore this led to low educational attainment. However, Bernstein another sociologist believes that speech patterns not culture is the major barrier affecting educational attainment. He assumes that there are two main codes, the restricted code and the elaborated code. The restricted code has more gestures and uses unfinished sentences. He believes that the working class mainly used this code. The second code being the elaborated code, his was used in the exams, by teachers and in the education system. He assumed that this code was linked to the occupations for the middle class because they have to make decisions and manual jobs done by the working class do not require this. He also assumed that the middle class could use and understand both these codes but the working class could only use and understand the restricted code. This was how language spoken affected the child's educational attainment. On the other hand, Bernstein lacked to understand that the working class might be able to use the elaborated code as well. In addition, his study was made up of assumptions; there is no solid evidence for his theory. ...read more.

Conclusion

Secondly, elaboration, at this stage the guess is either confirmed or dismissed. The last stage being stabilisation, this is when pupils are regarded as a specific type based on their actions. This is how Hargreaves believed labelling affected a child's educational attainment. Keddie, on the other hand found there was a tendency for pupils from a higher status, white collar backgrounds to be placed in 'A' streams whereas those from unskilled manual backgrounds were placed in 'C' streams. Despite the fact that all streams were to be taught, the same content Keddie found that teachers modified the method and information they transmitted depending on which stream they taught. Therefore, less knowledge was given to the lower streams creating educational inequality because they were not seen as ideal pupils. This was how Keddie saw that the child's educational attainment was affected. Consequently, some argue that only out school factors affect the educational attainment, however in school factors cannot be ignored. In conclusion, it cannot be assumed that only one factor is important than others in determining the educational success or failure of people. Other factors also need to be considered e.g. gender and ethnic background. Social class cannot be seen in isolation. ?? ?? ?? ?? SABREENA AHMED ...read more.

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