Assess the view that working class underachievement in education is down to home circumstances and family background.

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Asses the view that the work classes underachievement in education is down to home circumstances and family back ground.

Yes arguably, the working classes’ underachievement in education is down to home circumstances and family back ground, as mentioned in item A, students underachieve because “they are disadvantaged by their early experiences”. This is clearly referring to their home circumstances. However the item ignores educational factors which ultimately lead to a working class child’s underachievement.

The item refers to how a working class students are not being taught how to speak properly by their parents, which affects how well they do at school. Sociologist Basil Bernstein argued that the underachievement amongst the working class was down to the fact that students from a working class background are primary socialised in a restricted language code. A restricted language code is where the sentence structure of how a person speaks is not very clear, this can be because of the use of colloquialism or just missing out words. Now many teachers talk in an elaborate language code. This can be a problem for those who speak in a restricted language code for numerous reasons. Firstly, a student who speaks in a restricted language code may not be able to understand what their teacher is saying, therefore they are unable to access the curriculum which eventually would lead to that student’s failure and Secondly teachers tend to talk in an elaborate speech code. Therefore they may favour students who also talk in an elaborate speech code as they believe their responses are more academic. Where the reality is their response just sound more academic through the use of longer and better structured words.

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Furthermore, the item highlight how working class parents have “lower expectations of their children, place less emphasis on improvement and do not give systematic reward for success”. This is an example of cultural deprivation. This is where working class parent do not pass on the appropriate norms (rules of behaviour in social situations) and values (belief that something is worthwhile) on their children to value hard work and education, thus hampering their access to education and upward social mobility. According to the cultural deprivation theorist, large sections of the working class have different beliefs, attitudes, values and goals from the ...

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