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Does the Education System Benefit the Ruling Class?

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Introduction

TITLE: DOES THE EDUCATION SYSTEM BENEFIT THE RULING CLASS? Hypothesis/Aim: To explore reasons why the middle class benefit more from their relationship with teachers than the working class. From a functionalist perspective the education system is based on a meritocratic theory, in that if you work hard you achieve success. However, there are many factors that can hinder this process. The focus of my study is from an interactionalist perspective and the way teachers relationships, including expectations, labelling and streaming has a positive impact on the middle class. (Word Count: 78) Concepts and Concepts: Labelling is my first concept. Labelling results from a certain group of people being categorised. For example, those pupils with elaborated speech are less likely to be criticised and also understand what is being taught therefore may be labelled as achievers. This can eventually lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, my second concept. This is when the original prediction or label activates itself and becomes true. For example the pupils labelled, as achievers will respond to the expectations of the teacher and subsequently become high achievers. My first context is a study carried out by the sociologist R.C. Rist, 1970 'Labelling and social class.' He studied several Kindergarten schools in North America. ...read more.

Middle

I would observe one class with the same teacher for a period of 350 hours over one academic year. The class of pupils would be from a comprehensive secondary school. The reason why I chose a class from a comprehensive secondary school was because there will be a mixture of middle and working class pupils as entrance is based on geographic catchment areas rather than ability. The reason I have chosen to observe just one class with the same teacher is to keep the study to a micro scale where possible. The same class could be observed with a number of different teachers; however, this would give a wide range of results that would be hard to analyse. I have chosen the period of 350 hours as this roughly works out at 10 hours per week throughout an academic year. I see this as sufficient observation without causing grave disruption to the class. Also, with the observation being carried out over the period of one academic year I would be able to compare progress of the children from the start of the year to the end of the year and see if there are any noticeable patterns in accordance with the behaviour schedule. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore the school needs to be in an area where there is a proportionate distribution of both working class and middle class children, this would again involve background research. A problem that may be encountered with the behaviour schedule is that some behaviour may be missed while the table is being filed out, this may lead to misleading results. The fact that only one class is being observed in one comprehensive school means that the study is very small scale, a micro approach. If the study is small scale this means that no sound conclusions can be drawn from the observation and this makes it very difficult to generalise the information. The observation is overt, this means that an observer will be sitting in the classroom for a number of hours every week. The presence of this observer could cause several problems. It could affect the learning of the children and also cause the pupils and teachers to act in a different way, therefore not giving conclusive results. However, one way to improve the valid ness of the data would be triangulation, this involves more than one research method so data can be cross checked. (Word Count: 331) Total word count = 1244 ?? ?? ?? ?? Lindsey Lowndes AS Sociology Coursework ...read more.

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