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

Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that working-class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background

Extracts from this document...


AS Sociology Essay Douglas is one sociologist in particular who would tend to agree with the generalisation that working-class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background. Douglas feels that this educational underachievement is maintained due to what he classifies as 'poor' parental attitudes and encouragement towards the education system and its functions. He use's evidence of poor parental interest with regards to lack of attendance at parent teacher meetings and other functions held by the school which would be in the best interests of the children if their parents attended. He highlights the fact that parents of working-class students have poor rates of attendance at these meetings and thus it comes across as if they are less interested in their child's educational experiences and opportunities compared to a middle-class child's parents who do attend. However some would say that Douglas' view is rather controversial in that he fails to recognise that many of these parents could be at work when these meetings are scheduled or perhaps they are looking after children and are unable to find or afford someone to look after them. So can we really say that working class underachievement is a result of home circumstances and family background as sociologists such as Douglas suggest? Newson and Newson would also agree with the statement that working-class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background. ...read more.


The feminist sociologist Melanie Philips would also agree with this statement. She states that modern family life in Britain is characterised by a rapidly increasing number of broken families in which effective socialisation has been disrupted and disordered. She is in the opinion that inadequate parenting among one parent, reconstituted families and cohabiting couples. She points out that working-class families have high levels of these broken families and thus their underachievement is caused by the family disruption and disorder. While Philips makes a valid point she fails to take into consideration the fact that many children strive and work hard at school despite being part of these family structures. So is it correct to say that working-class underachievement is caused by home circumstances and family background? Bernstein focuses on the concept of cultural deprivation and how this has been an influential factor on educational achievement. Bernstein points out that working-class children are linguistically deprived due to the fact that they use a restricted code in contrast to middle-class children who use a more elaborated one. He feels that this places them at an advantage as they are able to meet the demands of what teachers and examinations ask of them as they understand what is being requested. Working-class students on the other hand find this difficult as they have been brought up with linguistic deprivation. ...read more.


Lack of quiet place to study, healthy diet etc contribute to absenteeism and results in them underachieving. Halsey also points out that money becomes a barrier for working-class students from continuing in education despite having similar intelligence to middle-class children. If this is the case then we are nearly inclined to feel that home circumstances and family background is a reason for working-class underachievement. In consideration of the points outlined I feel that while cultural capital, cultural deprivation and material deprivation have contributed to educational underachievement they are not the only reasons why working-class students are doing poorly in school. Internal factors which interactionists point out such as streaming, labelling, self-fulfilling prophecy and deciding what constitutes as the 'ideal pupil' have all greatly hindered how working-class students perceive school and how they act as a result. While indeed students may witness domestic violence or be a victim of child abuse within a working-class home or have lack of money or material this may not necessarily be the case for all working-class children. They may find the negative stereotypical nature of school and the view the teacher places upon them as greatly affecting their academic performance and thus they do poorly in school and are classified as underachieving. I personally feel that such factors which occur internally in schools are as much to blame for working-class underachievement as home circumstances and family life. These internal factors can have a profound affect on students and their educational achievement rather their home situations. ?? ?? ?? ?? Declan Magennis 13/32 Sociology Essay ...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. Peer reviewed

    Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of religion to social ...

    3 star(s)

    Conservative force may mean two different things, preventing change and maintaining the status quo and traditional beliefs and customs. So in some cases religion can support social change while at the same time promote traditional values. Social changes may lead to changes in religion too.

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

    I have decided to use instructed interviews, which will be tape recorded so I can get as much as I can out of one interview. I have decided that to me for this study validly is more important than reliability due the nature of the study.

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

    Troyna and Williams (1986) argue that the national curriculum is ethnocentric which gives higher value to British culture and history, English and European language and undermines ethnic minority cultures, language, history. Bernard Coard (1971) also agrees as he says that Black culture is seen as inferior. This undermines black children's self-esteem leading to underachievement.

  2. Social Class and Education.

    Why do you think you're learning in the first place? Although the interviews are unstructured, I'll aim to keep questions the same, to try and keep results reliable. I aim to use methods that are as free from bias from either party, as practically possible in order to increase validity and reliability of my research.

  1. Evaluate sociological explanations for working class underachievement.

    Sociological theorist Bernstein deliberated this theory. The core of Bernstein's original intuition, "an obstinate idea in me which I could neither give up nor properly understand" as he calls it, is that there is a difference between working class and middle class speech, and that this difference is fraught with educational consequence.

  2. The functionalistic view of the family

    Obviously one strength is the benefits to society. There are many criticisms to functionalist views of the family. One main group that have criticisms of functionalists are the feminists. They believe that Talcott Parsons (1965) complementary role is very stereotypical and that it is not true in all families.

  1. Outline and assess the impact of the 1988 Education Reform Act

    On the other hand, the Reform Act in fact does still reinforce inequality in the education system, one aspect being that there are children from different social backgrounds which have accessibility to different resources, and have different experiences of education and achieve still different outcomes from education.

  2. Assess the view that the working-class underachievement is the result of home circumstances and ...

    code that they developed at home- some working-class pupils, who underachieve, may actually use elaborated language code at school, so they may argue that there are other factors, other than home factors, that cause the working-class pupils to underachieve. Another study that supports the idea that the home factors can

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