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How do the three factors of class, gender and ethnicity affect achievement? Can they be viewed in isolation?

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Introduction

SOCIOLOGY ESSAY Question: How do the three factors of class, gender and ethnicity affect achievement? Can they be viewed in isolation? Historically, class has been the major factor in affecting achievement, and this is still widely believed by some. However, gender, ethnicity nor class can be viewed as the sole factor of affecting achievement. For example, if you are white, you will not pass solely based on the factor that you are white, or you may be from a working class background which could hinder your chances of passing because of material deprivation among other things. Or you may be a boy, because statistics show that boys are now achieving less than girls, but that does not mean all boys will fail because they are a boy. So, any one of these three factors cannot be viewed in isolation simply because there is more than one factor which affects educational achievement. This essay will discuss this view and explain why one factor cannot be viewed in isolation Class can be seen as the major factor which affects achievement; this is because there are many sociological explanations as to why working class pupils fail and middle class pupils succeed. Historically, middle class boys were the only people allowed to go to schools, simply because they could afford it, working class kids were not educated so they were only able to get low paid jobs. ...read more.

Middle

This is because pupils were home tutored in order to pass these exams, this was no the case with working class pupils as their parents were unable to afford home tutoring, and in other cases, there was a lack of parental interest. Material deprivation, as well as a lack of parental interest affected working class pupils. Working class pupils were deprived of educational toys, books, resources and a quiet study area among other things. This was because their parents were either unable to afford them or did not want to invest too much into what they thought would be a lost cause. Sugerman summed this up in his "fatalistic" theory. He stated that working class families would not try to improve their condition and would only plan in "present time orientation". They would also seek immediate gratification by sending their children off to low paid jobs as soon as they left compulsory education as opposed to investing in universities so their child could get qualifications to gain better paid jobs. Many of the points made in relation to class factors affecting achievement can be equally applied to ethnic group experiences in our education system. This should be kept in mind when considering this area of the course. Many pupils from ethnic backgrounds cannot speak English too well and so would suffer from the language differences. ...read more.

Conclusion

These explanations may answer a part of the reason why girls are now achieving better than boys, but there is more. The introduction of coursework is an advantage for girls, as they are better organised and use their free time to do work as opposed to boys who are less organised and would rather go out or sit in front of the television than do work. In the classroom, boys are more likely be sent out of for being disruptive or excluded for getting into fights, which results in them falling behind. Another factor is, that the majority of the boys are working class, and they want the same manual labour job their fathers had, but because of a lack of these boys are not conforming to new types of jobs such as in call centre's, which is regarded as feminine. Therefore many working class boys will not strive to succeed whereas the girls will as they have an opportunity to have a future career ahead of them. In conclusion, as single factor, whether it be gender, ethnicity or class, cannot be viewed in isolation. If it where the case, then the only people we see succeeding in life would be white middle class boys and white working class girls as working class boys underachieve. This example alone shows that one factor cannot be viewed in isolation. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ms Adams ...read more.

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