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Examine the ways in which factors in pupils' home backgrounds may affect their educational attainment.

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Introduction

Jenny Mason (e) Examine the ways in which factors in pupils' home backgrounds may affect their educational attainment Some sociologists such as Douglas and Bernstein have argued that home background and cultural deprivation account for the differences in educational attainment. These sociologists will argue that the home background and cultural deprivation of the working classes accounts for their under achievement in education. However other sociologists such as Nell Keddie have argued that it is in school factors and not home background that accounts for differences in educational attainment. Working class under achievement is said to be based on their home background and also culturally deprived schools. There are distinctive norms and values of different social classes, which can affect their educational performance. There are outside school factors which can explain working class underachievement these can be simple things in their home background such as a low finance in the home, the accommodation which can be small and overcrowded leading to a small amount of mental and physical space. Also the accommodation can be in need of repair and there may be a lack of pre-school and educational books and toys, which can all, affect the child's learning and therefore educational attainment. ...read more.

Middle

J.W.B. Douglas also commeneted that one of the most important facts to how well you achieve is down to parental interest. The middle classes seem to have more parental interest and the working classes less, however the working class could have less time to visit the schools because of the demands of their jobs, they may also be put off from visiting schools because of the way teachers interact with them, bearing in mind that most teachers are middle class. Middle class parents are in a better position to ensure their children get to a better school than working class parents. This is because they have cultural capital, meaning they can 'play the system' to their advantage, they also possess material advantages, this all leaves the working class children at a loss and there culture determining how well they might be able to succeed at school. The theory of cultural deprivation was developed based on a more negative view of the working classes. This placed the blame for working class educational failure on the culture of low-income groups. This has also led to the idea of positive discrimination towards culturally deprived children leading to the policy of compensatory education where the working class children are given extra resources to help them compete on equal levels with the other children. ...read more.

Conclusion

The school organisation has been criticised with teachers interacting differently with different streams, especially since the middle classes are normally in the top stream and the working class in the lower stream. There is also said to be a culture clash between teachers and working class pupils as the teachers are normally middle class, which could all ultimately affect the child's educational achievement. Nell Keddie writing in the 1970s commented on the differentiation of an undifferentiated curriculum. Keddie felt that all streams should have the same information, something, which was not happening in schools at the time, she was writing. Keddie also felt that the curriculum was middle class orientated with the subjects, way of learning, the language and the more mental and abstract concepts, which would leave the working classes at a disadvantage. This meant that the middle class would possess the key to open the doors to success. We can see that the research of Douglas et al shows that various home background factors and experiences of cultural deprivation can account for attainment levels of the working class being lower than the middle class. It may be that those sociologists who emphasise the inside school factors are nearer in explaining the causes of a differential education system. ...read more.

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