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Examine the importance of school factors on pupil's educational success.

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Introduction

Examine the importance of school factors on pupil's educational success. The education system is mostly controlled by white middle-class people. Those who share these characteristics may well be viewed more positively and be more likely to succeed in the tests and examinations created to assess their abilities. Many working class and ethnic minority pupils may feel undervalued and demotivated by an education system that does not recognise their qualities, class or ethnic culture. The Marxist idea of "Cultural Capital" (Bordieu) also determines a student's ability to excel in the education system. Schools are middle-class institutions run by the middle-class. The forms of knowledge, values, ways of interacting and communicating ideas that middle-class children possess are developed further and rewarded by the education system. Working class and ethnic minority children may lack these qualities and so do not have the same chances to succeed. Studies have shown that middle-class parents are able to use their cultural capital to play the system so as to ensure that their children are accepted into the schools of their choice. However, ethnic minority parents are disadvantaged when trying to get their children into better schools. ...read more.

Middle

Marxist sociologists, in particular, have suggested that this Hidden Curriculum is the most important part of schooling, because it legitimates inequality through the application of the label "Failure" to those from a working class background. Those so labelled end up in working class occupations, believing that their low position in the social hierarchy is a result of their own inadequacy. The issue of streaming in schools is an important one, sociologically and politically. Streaming is usually the traditional mode for teaching although many now argue for progressive teaching - which is less divisive than streaming. On the other hand, streaming allows the appropriate pitching of lessons for both bright and less able students. However, critics of streaming argue that it institutionalises failure, condemning large numbers of the less able to educational underachievement. Thus they are suggesting that streaming is a formal way of labelling pupils as successes or failures. Teachers' expectation of children's performance depends on a whole range of factors, such as gender, ethnicity and social class. It is argued that these expectations are important because they provide the framework within which individual pupils perform and within which they are classified as a success of failure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Much research into language has identified class differences in spoken and written language, which disadvantages working class and ethnic minority pupils. The middle-classes succeed not because of greater intelligence but merely because they used the preferred way of communicating. Language has also been seen as a particular problem for West-Indian children, who may speak different dialects of English; and children from homes where a language other than English is spoken. Bernstein's examination of language codes demonstrated the idea that working class children are generally socialised into a restricted language code, characterised by a limited vocabulary and context-bound speak, as two examples. This differs from that of the middle-class, who are generally socialised into an elaborate language code. The different language patterns people adopt affects their educability. This is because the formal teaching in schools and examinations are carried out in the elaborate language code. Working class children are likely to underperform at school because the language code they learn or adopt clashes with the speech patterns used in schools - it is in effect inappropriate for educational success. All these factors help to determine a student's educational achievement during their school life from such things as, not only their genetic ability, but their class, race, gender, capital, language and many more besides. Kirsty Field 12C School Factors and Educational Achievement ...read more.

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