• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and assess sociological explanations of social class inequalities in educational attainment

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline and assess sociological explanations of social class inequalities in educational attainment Until the late twentieth century, most people's identities and interests were part and parcel of the type of work they did and the work based communities they lived in. Virtually all aspects of their lives including gender roles, family life, political views and leisure were a product of their working class identity. The education system is one of the most influential institutions in society. It takes individuals from the age of 4 or 5, for six or so hours a day, over a period of at least eleven years. It bombards them with a vast amount of knowledge, attitudes and skills. These are acquired through formal lessons or informally by what is known as the Hidden Curriculum. In general, the higher a person's social class of origin (the class they were born into) the higher their educational qualifications; this has been shown time and time again over the past 50 years by sociological research and government statistics. It was revealed that in 1989, children born into families of professional careers obtained five or more GCSE's at nearly 50% whereas pupils born into families with unskilled manual jobs were only at 12% obtaining five or more GCSE's. ...read more.

Middle

Many working class and ethnic groups may feel undervalued and demotivated by an education system that does not conform to their interests and qualities. Much research into language has identified a lot of difference between classes by their spoken and writing skills, which disadvantage working class pupils. The middle class pupil succeeds not by more intelligence but by understanding the language communications better. This is a particular problem to those from a ethnic minority and may not be able to speak good English or have more than one language spoken in their families. The idea of cultural capital is used by Marxists to explain cultural influences on educational success. Bordieu suggested that middle class culture is as valuable in educational terms as material wealth. 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 educational system. Working class and ethnic minority groups may not value this system and so do not have the same chance to succeed. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my conclusion it is still diverse on why working class pupils achieve far less than there middle class counterparts but it is clear that material and cultural deprivation plays a major part on a pupil's success. For example, if a middle class child comes home after school and announces 'I did badly in my maths test' then there a number of ways a middle class parent would respond, either by saying, we'll buy you a revision guide, we'll complain to the head teacher; he's a personal friend, lets go through the questions; I was good at maths or we'll hire a personal tutor. All these response are easily available to a middle class pupil but not to a working class pupil as economic and social issues will block this response. Governments have addressed these issues on many attempts, to narrow the gap between working and middle class achievement, with some success. Government initiatives such as Sure Start programme, aims to help a child from birth to target for success by helping with social and economical problems for working class families. However, there still exists a gap between class success so maybe there are different issues to compare such as gender, how pupils respond to education or the educational system itself. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and asses sociological explanations for workplace inequalities between men and women

    5 star(s)

    Women who are just as qualified as men are likely to hit the glass ceiling and be unable to achieve the top jobs. Barron and Norris attempt to explain vertical segregation with the "Dual Labour Market Theory". They claim that there are two labour markets: the primary market with stable,

  2. Is the Underachievement of Ethnic Minority Children due to a Racist School System?

    This again is institutional racism, because the education system isn't making allowances that England is a multi-ethnic country. I then asked about if he had many cases of teachers being directly racist. "We do have cases of directly racist teachers, partially head teachers.

  1. Demography topic revision notes. The study of populations and their characteristics is called ...

    As Hirsch recognises, many of these policy changes require a cultural change in our attitudes towards old age. His view illustrates the notion that old age is a social construct - that is, not a fixed, purely biological fact, but something shaped and defined by society.

  2. Outline and Assess the Usefulness of Conflict Theories in Explaining Social Class Inequalities in ...

    This suggests that Marxist theory is not relevant to society today. Neo-Marxist theory differs from Marxist theory. The focal point of Neo-Marxism is the relationship between the infrastructure, the economy and the superstructure, the institutions within society such as education, and the media.

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

    Interactionist sociologists have said that the interaction between the teacher and pupil will affect their attainment. This can be because some teachers tend to label their learners; these labels can be positive or negative with the positive labels meaning the pupils will succeed where as the negative labels meaning the pupils will be more likely to under achieve.

  2. Using material from Item 1B and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in ...

    Driver and Ballard [1981] found that Asian children whose first language was not English were as good at English as their fellow students by the age of 16. However, labelling theorists would say that language may not be a barrier, but dialects may influence teacher expectations and lead to negative labelling.

  1. Biological and Social Constructionist explanations of Gender development

    Individuals are conscious of this between the ages 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex (male or female). For some however, their gender identity is different from their biological or assigned sex.

  2. Gender and Education. Explanations of gender differences in subject choice notes.

    Vocational courses therefore more gender specific as they are closer to students career plans. GENDER IDENTITY! (how pupils experiences in school reinforce gender and sexual identities. Bob connel 1995 says that these all contribute to to reinforce gegemonic masculinity the domincancle of heterosexual masculine identity and the subordination of female and gay identities.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work