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Social Class and Education.

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Social Class affecting Education 'Working class boys in particular are underachieving, while girls from poorer backgrounds are grasping the opportunities.' - Julie Henry; The Telegraph In my study, I will aim to find out the factors that cause underachievement. I will aim to use sociologists that approach the problem differently, to help understand and find an answer to causes and importance of Social Class related underachievement in education. My chosen sociologists will be Basil Bernstein with his ideas on Sociolinguistic codes and Harold Becker who studied the 'Ideal Pupil'. I will use unstructured interviews on 10 pupils and 10 teachers to come to a conclusion. 105 words. Main Research Method For my project, I will aim to take an Interpretivist view by using unstructured interviews to carry out my research into underachievement in education. I feel this will be the best method to use for my coursework since it will enable me to directly converse with, and attempt to understand what is actually going through the minds of underachieving pupils. I will take a Stratified Random Sample of ten Toynbee pupils from Year 11 and ten teachers. This will create detailed responses, which will be the most effective way to gather qualitative data and it will ensure a cross section of the issue. ...read more.


He feels that speech is an important medium of learning and education; for him, there is a direct correlation between social class and language. Bernstein narrowed the forms of verbal code to 'Restricted' and 'Elaborated', but for my piece of research I will focus more on restricted codes. He effectively said that restricted code is a form of 'shorthand speech', this form of code was characterised as 'short, grammatically simple, often unfinished sentences.' He also found that restricted forms of speech code were associated with not just school children, but also in the family and in particular, the working class family. Relating back to my aim, I will specifically take into account the linguistic codes that Bernstein suggests and assess for myself the impact and relationship between restricted codes and underachievement. I want to investigate verbal communication skills and the affect achievement on oral tests, and if verbal skills affect writing skills; i.e, the ability to convey words or meanings. Howard Becker investigated the idea of the 'Ideal Pupil' and the 'Labelling Theory'. He took a positivist approach and in the 1970's, studied teachers from Chicago. He saw that these teachers had set an 'Ideal Pupil' standard whereby pupils were evaluated and classified in terms of how close they are to the 'ideal pupil'. ...read more.


It will also be very sensitive ethically, since pupils could find it hard to trust a stranger with personal issues and it would need some careful negotiations to ensure that only information that I needed would be extracted. This is also will be a very time consuming project, and there could be a possibility of 'Interviewer Bias'. The problem with working so closely to a set of pupils is that I could become overly involved and lose sight of my aim. I would always have to distance myself from pupils, yet at the same time, become close enough to gain their trust. In addition, because I've taken an interpretive standpoint, positivists would criticise the levels of representation in my study; generalisations could not be made. They would argue that the data is 'subjective' meaning that it's too personal and not balanced. If I had more time however, I would want to use Triangulation, which would ensure a greater level of balance with qualitative and quantitative data. Since I'm not taking quantitative data, my study cannot be repeated and therefore cannot be checked or verified by another sociologist. My interviews will not be able be repeated which will affect reliability and validity of my research. I'm also only taking a small sample of 10 pupils and 10 teachers, so it will not be very representative. Words: 370 Total word count Michael Gooz´┐Że ...read more.

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