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

Is working class underachievement better explained by factors inside or outside the school?

Extracts from this document...


IS WORKING CLASS UNDERACHIEVEMENT BETTER EXPLAINED BY FACTORS INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL? The extent of working class underachievement in the British Educational System has been a very important subject for discussion in sociology research. Working class children underachieve considerably compared to the achievement attained by a middle class child at every level of education including SAT's, GCSE's, A-levels and degrees. Early research focused on reasons outside the school such as a child's background, neighbourhood and class values. The results of the research developed the idea that the working classes were maybe culturally deprived. In the 1960's and 1970's opinions changed and it suggested that factors within the school such as streaming and setting, labelling and the hidden curriculum was to blame for a child's underachievement. In the last ten years sociologists have returned to the idea that external factors are the reason for differential attainment. Barry Sugarman argues that one of the reasons for underachievement in a working class child's education is the child's attitude, which is brought into the school and is already an established part of the working class subculture. Therefore, they are already socialised in terms of this, he feels that this attributes to their low level of achievement. Herbert H Hyman (1960's) studied the "value system" of the working classes. He argues that this system creates a self-imposed barrier to an improved position. He felt that the working classes placed a lower value on achieving a higher occupational status, they may often follow by example such as following in their father's footsteps or heading towards a trade rather than taking a risk in further education in order to apply for a higher status job. ...read more.


This will affect the attitude of both the teacher and the pupil in the way that they interact with each other. Rosenthal and Jacobson have illustrated that a teachers perception of a pupil's ability will strongly affect that pupil's progress. Howard Becker was one of the first to study the reasons why teachers classify pupils in a certain way. He interviewed sixty Chicago teachers and found that they all shared the same picture of an "ideal" pupil. This pupil was to be highly motivated, intelligent and well behaved. This criteria fits a middle class pupil. As a result the working class pupil was labelled unlikely to succeed. This interpretive approach was seen as narrow-minded, it was thought that a wider society should have been analysed. If social structure and social action had been studied, a comparison of the two could have been used. Basil Bernstein states that a working class pupil could be placed at a distinct disadvantage because the teacher is more likely to view a middle class pupil's ability as higher. For the middle class pupil there is a progressive development towards verbalising and making explicit, subjective content, whilst this is not the case for the working class pupil. This is not necessarily the result of a deficiency of intelligence but comes from a consequence of the social relationship acting through the linguistic medium. This is enhanced due to many working class children only being able to use the "restricted" code, which makes it harder to explain themselves clearly. Therefore, speech is inhibited and vague of expression and repetition is promoted. ...read more.


Dawn Garget - Tutor Group 4.1 1/ Emile Durkheim strongly believes that the school is an essential part of a child's life as it provides a function that is not provided by the family or peer groups. Durkheim states that he believes school rules should be strictly obeyed as this helps to reinforce self-discipline, self-control and restraint. He feels that the educational system teaches individual specific skills to prepare for the future. David Hargreaves took on board Durkheim's views but he criticises today's modern comprehensive schools. He feels that the working class pupil does not benefit from this system of education, as there is too much emphasis placed on individual success in competitive examinations. In some cases this will cause rebellion, which may lead to pupils forming sub-cultures of their own which will reject the values of the school. 2/ Talcott Parsons argues that the school takes over as the focal socialising agency after primary socialisation within the family. He feels that within the home a child is not regarded as an individual but as "their" child. Within a family a child's status is fixed at birth but within the school conduct is assessed against school regulations, regardless of ascribed characteristics such as sex, race or family background. The educational system places individuals in the same situation so therefore allowing them to compete on equal terms in examinations. He feels the school is seen as the major mechanism for role allocation. Durkheim and Parsons both fail to give consideration to society as a whole. They take on board the values of a ruling minority. 3/ Both Durkheim and Hargreaves strongly criticise education based on individual competition, even though other functionalists see this as a vital aspect in modern education. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Outline and evaluate the process of Labelling and self-fulfilling prophecy As factors in the ...

    an unfair system and harmful to the self esteem and educational performance of the bottom stream pupils.

  2. Analysing Education in Britain. Student fees, Acadamies and Differences in Attainment Levels.

    Ethnicity is belonging to a group that shares the same characteristics, such as country or origin, language, religion, ancestry and culture. It may further be described as biology and history and not always the culture that a person grows up in.

  1. Assess the strengths and limitations of experiments for the study of labelling.

    The government may have collected statistics that may not benefit researchers; they still have practical advantages which make them viable for research. This is because only the government can afford to produce a large scale survey and have the authority to make it compulsory for people to fill in and provide information on births or deaths.

  2. Assess the view that schools and what takes place within them are the main ...

    and also that IQ tests are biased in favour of the middle class as these tests are largely conducted and carried out by members of the middle class group. Therefore IQ tests only measure the ability of the individual who is being tested to conform to the testers personal idea of intelligence.

  1. Gender Socialisation

    It was known as the Missionaries of Charity. Conclusion In conclusion, I think that gender roles of previous centuries still play a huge part in modern society, although they are being challenged immensely and the attitudes have gone a long way to changing in many spheres, the legislation has helped

  2. Crime and Social class - Hypothesis - 'There is a relationship between social ...

    Since there's no easy way to measure their wealth (I wonder how Forbes does it?), many researchers turn to other methods: reputational (they ask others who the super-wealthy are); educational (they look at certain prep schools & associations attended); or city social registers.

  1. The Hidden Curriculum; Hegemony and Capitalism.

    It is through educating students to participate in the existing forms of life and work in society, they contribute to maintaining these forms." In this way the hidden curriculum is a form of socialization, which refers to the process of teaching and learning behaviours, values, roles and customs considered appropriate in society.

  2. Critically examine the view that the health inequalities suffered by the working class can ...

    For example, poverty is the major driver of ill health, and poorer people tend to get sick more often and to die younger than richer people do.5 Those who die youngest are people who live on benefits or low wages in poor-quality housing accommodation and who eat cheap, unhealthy food.6

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