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Assess the view that schools and what takes place within them are the main cause of social class differences in educational achievement

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Introduction

Assess the view that schools and what takes place within them are the main cause of social class differences in educational achievement In Today's society it is believed in general working class pupils do less well than middle class pupils. Sociologists believe that working class pupils are less likely to attend nursery school. They are more likely to start school at five years old and unable to read. They also get fewer GCSE'S and A' levels. They are more likely to leave school at sixteen and get a job. They are less likely to attend university. There are many reasons why the working class may be less likely to underachieve. There are two ways of looking at achievement. These are the factors inside and outside of school. There are many school factors affecting achievement inside the school. There is a theory on teacher's expectations that was researched by Rosenthal and Jacobsen. They believed that pupils perform to a teacher's expectations. For example if the teacher tells the pupil that he/she will do well and expects this to happen, it will. This is because the pupil will work harder to get results. The opposite is also true. Teachers may expect working class pupils to do less well; therefore they may tell them so. ...read more.

Middle

When social class is investigated in relation to educational attainment, research carried out by sociologist King (1) (1970) reveals that a child's educational success is related closely to their home background and the social class group to that of the parents. Most socialists would agree with King in the view that the higher a child's parents are in the social class structure the greater that child's chances of educational success. Therefore it is assumed that the children of working class parents do not accomplish as much academically as the children of middle class parents. Socioglists suggest a variety of reasons for the relative educational "failure" of the working class. These reasons are the influence of the home, the neigbourhood/peer group. Along side these explanations is also the issue of intelligence/IQ. Psychologist H Eysenck (1971) would argue that the reason for the difference in educational attainment is that of innate intelligence, the fact that individuals inherit their intelligence/IQ from their parents in much the same way that a person would inherit their facial expressions. Eysneck states "what children take out of schools is proportional to what they bring into the schools in terms of IO."(2). Other sociologists would disagree and argue, what is deemed intelligent varies from society to society, IQ scores vary over time and can improve with practice, ...read more.

Conclusion

He states "that human action is not simply an expression of fixed patterns established during childhood" therefore parental values are not the reasons for differences in attainment between the social classes. Some sociologists criticize Becker for failing to explore what are the reasons for differential education attainment. Basil Bernstein(7) (1971) looks at speech patterns in relation to social class differences and how this can impact upon educational attainment. He points out "in order to benefit from an academic education, a wider vocabulary and an ability to communicate clearly and cogently are crucial." Bernstein argues that parents pass on vocabulary and ability with language to their children. The more clearly parents reply to children's questions and explain things to them, the better the children will be in their use of language. Berstein distinguishes between two codes of speech; elaborated and restricted (8). From his study he concluded that elaborated speech is most often found to be practiced in middle class homes; a wide vocabulary is used with the child and he/she is encouraged to fully explore. In conclusion I believe that school factors are important to explain class difference in achievement. However I do not think they give the full picture. To get this we need to take into account the factors outside of school. We can then see what affects achievement. ?? ?? ?? ?? Liz Clark ...read more.

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