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Social divisions and educational achievement
Individuals have multiple aspects to their social
identities. E.g. class, gender and ethnicity, e.g. a white working class male. He/she may be affected by all of these identities. Gender and intersection with other aspects of identity in education Class and life chances
Explanations for achievement
Biological (19th C) intelligence or natural differences between the
sexes (although see more recent 20th C work on race and IQ tests (e.g. The Bell Curve- critiqued as inaccurate and racist):
the formal curriculum and hidden curriculum – which pupils are taught what? Teaching approaches and teacher attitudes The school environment and structure Peer cultures
Wider social inequalities in society, cultural and material capital
Gender: Patterns up to 1980s/90s
Main question was why girls did not achieve as well
as boys in school? Up to 1960s girls outperformed boys in primary and early secondary years before boys caught up and overtook them in post-16 education. Subject choices: boys – maths and science. Girls – arts, languages, home economics etc.
increase in education achievements of girls in comparison to boys disguises the role of class and ethnicity. „White working class‟: Wendy Bottero – focus on their ethnicity is hiding structural socio-economic causes. medicine etc but still some gender divide across other subjects However.Gender: 1990s onwards Main question: why are boys underachieving? Or rather why are particular groups of boys underachieving? Boys are more likely to get the highest and the lowest grades – polarisation. but not class war. Middle-class white girls. Subject choices: more girls doing chemistry. (See Walkerdine et al (2001) Growing Up Girl) . There are still differences here. David Gillborn – construction of white racial victimhood in the media – talk about race.
‘Failing boys’: moral panic Epstein et al. and c) deflects attention from the larger achievement gaps according to „race‟ and social class.187) . Francis (2006) – „Heroes or Zeros?‟ – alongside „poor boys‟ discourse. the neo-liberal focus of failure on individuals rather than social structures means „certain groups of boys beginning to be demonised for their apparent wastefulness ofresources and failure to take responsibility for their own achievement‟ (p. b) reinforces male privilege by justifying a greater focus and resources on meeting boys‟ needs (at the expense of girls).’s (1998) Failing Boys .argue that in the media and educational policy there is a „moral panic‟ around „boys‟ underachievement‟ This: a) masks the continuing problems faced by girls in schools.
Gender and Society‟ ) . „Masculinity‟ and „femininity‟ used to describe the social roles. (see Ann Oakley „Sex. expectations and behaviours linked to each gender.definition The social identity that has become historically and culturally attached to being „male‟ or „female‟.Gender .
The social construction of gender ‘Doing gender’ – masculinities and femininities „do not exist prior to social behaviour. either as bodily states or fixed personalities‟ (Connell 1996: 210). They come into existence as people act – in everyday interactions and in organisational life (the way social practices are structured and organised) The role of school: School as a setting – the site in which interactions take place (remember there are other sites in society through which social construction of gender takes place) School as an agent (structures and practices of school) .
When girls succeed it is explained by extrinsic factors such as more „girl friendly‟ teaching environment. conformity) .How success and failure is explained -Abbot (2006) Pamela Abbott : when boys are failing it is often explained through extrinsic factors (through factors external to them) such as the feminisation of school environment. use of coursework etc and low status intrinsic factors (e. Whereas success is intrinsic – when they succeed it‟s seen as because they naturally have a higher ability. neatness.g.
also how gender socialisation outside school affects education outcomes READ Sharpe’s extract ‘School and the Hidden Curriculum’ What does the ‘hidden curriculum’ mean? Dale Spender ed. „cult of the apron‟ BUT what about the ways in which boys and girls use femininities and masculinities to resist control. The role of agency and how does power circulate and how is power used? . (1980) Learning to Lose: Sexism and education –education as indoctrination.Sex-role theory „Sex-role‟ theory – schools transmit society wide norms and children receive these Sue Sharpe (1976) ‘Just like a girl’: how girls learn to be women – „the hidden curriculum‟.
Positive and negative labelling + their effects . Importance of streams/sets and mixed ability teaching.Selffulfilling prophecies Gender and labelling: which forms of behaviour are coded „masculine‟ and „feminine‟ and which forms of masculine and feminine identities are valued and associated with success? Also working class and some ethic minority students = most likely to be negatively labelled.Interactionist approaches Small scale. qualitative research based primarily on observation in schools . .ethnographic Look at the effects of within-school factors on pupil achievement. especially pupil-teacher interaction.
rebel against them or try to modify them There may be differences within the school and gender regimes can also change over time because – SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED . teacher-pupil. pupil pupil Division of labour Patterns of emotion Symbolization „Taking up the offer‟ .Connell points out that the terms on which people participate are not predetermined – they may adjust to these patterns.‘Gender regimes’ in school (Connell 1996) Power relations – teacher-teacher.
2007). „Hyper-heterosexual femininity‟ – although more recent studies shown MC girls „doing gender‟ in this way also. (2007) ‘while the young women use heterosexual femininities as a means to generate capital. it is ultimately paradoxical because these constructions simultaneously play into other oppressive power relations. Also „laddettes‟ Archer et al.’ Heterosexuality and masculinity – Mac an Ghail: „macho‟ boys who label boys who achieve academically as being effeminate or gay. Sexual harassment of girls. Attempts to assert power and dominance.Sexuality and engagement with school 1970s onwards feminists have looked at WC girls and sub- cultural forms of resistance to education through performances of femininity. but different outcomes (Archer et al. .
g.Work and the family Young people‟s changing perceptions on the relevance of education More employment opportunities for women and greater participation in the workforce Many occupations traditionally seen as female now require higher qualifications e. Lack of opportunities. nursing (Abbott) Youth unemployment and job market Attitudes to marriage and children Sue Sharp follow up study to „Just like a Girl‟ Working class boys: Deindustrialisation and decline in manufacturing jobs. . Instrumental orientation to school and limited compliance to get a job no longer relevant. Response – rejection of schooling.
2004). Pakistanis more likely than whites to attain 5 grade A-C GCSEs (Modood. 2005. 2006) What is happening in school/wider society to produce this? Not intrinsic to person’s ethnicity. by the age of 16. By 1990s attainment among Bangladeshi rising considerably & in some areas outperform white pupils (DES. Indians. 2005). Gallagher. Chinese and Black Africans are more likely to have higher qualifications. Parekh. .g. Some ethnic groups (e. 2000. (Modood. and Bangladeshi groups than whites. While Black Caribbean children begin school at the same standard as the national average. In 40% of LAs. the number of students who have five GCSE passes is less than half the national average (DES. Pakistani. 2006). Pakistanis and Bangladeshis) = internally polarized.Statistics: ethnicity Lower levels of attainment among Black Caribbean. with both high and low qualifications.
and Somali pupils (DfES. there has also been a recent increase in exclusions of Bangladeshi. • Black Caribbean pupils are considerably more likely to face disciplinary action and exclusion from school. 2006). 2005). 2006). • Black Caribbean pupils are one and a half times more likely than white pupils to be identified as having behavioural. • Gypsy/Roma and Traveller pupils experience the most severe educational exclusion of any minority ethnic group in the UK with levels of attainment being roughly ¼ of the national average. emotional and social needs (DfES. with the exception of Black Caribbean males. increasing representation in further education and some groups now exceed the government‟s target of 50% participation (Modood. . Pakistani.Statistics: ethnicity All ethnic minorities.
James Clifford (1986: 10) : „Cultures‟ do not hold still for their portraits. They change over time and locations. the construction of a particular self-other relationship. Attempts to make them do so always involve simplification and exclusion. . selection of a temporal focus.Cultures and essentialism As well as variations within a culture. cultures are also not static.
Black masculinities and schooling: how Black boys survive modern schooling (Tony Sewell 1997) Ethnographic study in 2 London high schools These categories are not held to be rigid or homogenous. Teacher attitudes: Supportive Irritated Antagonistic Student responses (attitudes to „means‟ and „goals‟ of school): Rebels Conformist Innovators – compares to Fuller‟s (1990) pro-ed. anti-school girls Retreaters . but used by Sewell to build explanations.
. do this.‘Routes into education and employment for young Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in the UK’ (Dale et al. my family expects me to go out. get a degree. do that. and everyone‟s always expecting me to do this. do that. they don‟t rely on the partner or anything like that‟. . I‟m getting wound up by the pressure. and sometimes. if they (girls) want to be independent. 2010) Young people interviewed in Manchester and Oldham Found high aspirations and motivations to do well in education „. you know. I think most of them do carry on. right. . because of their independence.‟ (Pakistani boy) . then they should carry on (with their education). . . (Pakistani girl) „In my family.
They can study wherever they want but the condition is that they remember the door of their parents‟ home and that they will be returning through that door the way they left. ever. And if they follow this advice. The world will respect them and parents will also respect them‟. .Differing perspectives on izzat (1) „Parents‟ izzat is extremely important and they (children) need to know that. then I don‟t think they‟ll lose out in life. I‟m not saying that they can‟t study away from home. I say they can even go abroad as far as America if they want to and my husband and I agree on this.
She had younger sisters who went everywhere with their mum. it‟s become a custom wherever you look. about 20 years old and she recently got married and people didn‟t even know they had a daughter of that age.Differing perspectives on izzat (2) „Around here. everybody goes out and everybody works‟. in our Islam it is strongly recommended not to go out of the home. but she never went anywhere. . there‟s a young girl. but these days. she was that faithful she never went anywhere. because she never went out anywhere and just stayed in the home. So as you see.
your daughter is doing this or . . Oh. and they say they‟ve gone to college and they are studying this . and then they say: why do you do that? . .they say how‟s your daughter . they talk about you . .‘Community’ monitoring of behaviour „Some people. . . . . . . . like. why don‟t you just get them married?‟ (Focus group of Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls aged 14–15) .
Activity It is often argued that the curriculum has been feminised. and class or ethnic backgrounds. or that it only reflects white and/or middle class values. consider gender. Think about your school or college or university curriculum In small groups. These arguments are sometimes given as reasons for inequalities between students of different genders. . class or ethnicity and think about a) whether you agree with the argument and b) the ways in which the curriculum might be „biased‟ towards one particular group.
Race and Class (Mirza et al. 2000) There is ‘evidence that the inequality of attainment between social classes has grown since the late 1980s’ (Mirza et al. pupils from non-manual backgrounds still have significantly higher attainments. ) Even when controlling for social class. . Although for Black Caribbean pupils the social class difference is much less pronounced ‘The gender gap is considerably smaller than the inequalities of attainment associated with ethnic origin and social class background’ – although does still exist and significant in its effects when intersecting with particular ethnicity and class. However. For example. than their peers of the same ethnic origin but from manual households. only white pupils improved year on year regardless of their class background. there remain significant inequalities of attainment between different ethnic groups. as a group.
Charles Murray. WC girl low ability. The key assumptions of IQ theory are: Intelligence can be defined clearly It can be measured accurately via IQ tests Data indicate clear social class differences in intelligence Research on identical twins suggests that up to 80% of the variation in intelligence among individuals can be explained by genetic factors Environmental factors .g.IQ Theory E. therefore. are less important than inherited IQ as determinants of intelligence Walkerdine et al – case study where MC girl and WC girl getting low grades – teachers perspective: MC girl not trying. .
Criticism of IQ theory Intelligence cannot be defined clearly or accurately measured by IQ tests.suggesting environmental factors are important Douglas found that upper middle class pupils obtained twice as many O Level passes as lower working class children with the same measured IQ. girls and black pupils. Some groups have improved their performance. suggesting that they do not measure fundamental intelligence Some studies suggest working class students with high IQ scores are still more likely to leave school at an early age .g. . e. IQ tests may be culturally biased Student IQ test scores can improve with practice. IQ theories cannot explain how this happens.
but particularly a lack of parental interest in their children‟s education.g Douglas. strong present time orientation. This explanation argued that the working class lacked the necessary attitudes for educational success.‘Cultural deprivation’ theory Relevant theorists: e. linguistic deprivation. unwillingness to plan for the future. Key elements of cultural deprivation: fatalism. Bernstein. . The relative educational underachievement of working class students is explained by their „cultural deprivation‟. unwillingness to defer gratification. A number of factors were cited.
Walkerdine et al. whether parents visited the school.Criticism of cultural deprivation theory (1) Douglas‟ work has been criticised because of the way he measured parental interest: i. MC parents as assertive advocates for their children. Advocacy: WC parents seen as aggressive. – what is seen as ‘culture’ and how is certain behaviour interpreted? Parents experiences of school: in their study most WC parents had left school early.e. trouble makers or if deferring to teacher‟s assumed knowledge about education seen as uninterested. . a priority for some was that children would be happier at school than they had been. Parents‟ evenings: Power in teacher-parent interactions: MC parents seen as equal professionals or even see teachers as providing service to them. many had not enjoyed it.
poor health or housing) may disadvantage certain groups. What about material circumstances and also the organisation of schools? . It may be lack of material resources which force working class parents and pupils to be oriented to the present and make them unable to “defer gratification” In any case many working class parents are keen to give their children a better chance than they had. Educational Maintenance Awards (EMAs) were introduced to attempt to counter this Working class parental ambitions may have declined as a result of inaccurate and/or unfair setting processes and/or inaccurate negative school reports.Criticism of cultural deprivation theory (2) Material deprivation (lack of money.
trips or personal computers Parents unable to afford part-time private tuition or full time private education Parents unable to afford housing in catchment areas of „top‟ schools Parents and students anxiety over debts associated with higher education . sickness and absence from school W/C pupils may feel forced to take part-time paid work which interferes with studies: for M/C pupils this is optional rather than necessary. tiredness.Material circumstances Working class students may experience a range of adverse material circumstances such as: Fewer pre-school play groups and nurseries in working class areas Greater risk of poor diet. No quiet room for study Parents unable to afford relevant books. under-nourishment.
Liberation or containment and pacification? „An instructed and intelligent people besides are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant one…less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to the measures of the government‟ (Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations) .The role of education How and why did education systems arise? Looking back to 19th Century ‘Normalisation’ of the working-class to fit middleclass aspirations and values.
Marxists: this is essential to the capitalist system: failure at school justifies a role at the bottom of the social class structure. Bowles and Gintis argued that the schooling you get corresponds to your future role in production. Schools select the best people for the most important jobs. This is a preparation for their future role in an unequal society. In Learning to Labour Willis however argued that working class boys see through all of this. .Structural explanation: producing a labour force Functionalists and Marxists have both argued that working class children are bound to do less well in school. Functionalists: this is inevitable and meritocratic.
Paul Willis ‘Learning to Labour: how working class kids get working class jobs’ (1977) (1) Willis‟ study focused mainly on 12 male working class non-examination students in a secondary modern school in the 1970s (where students who failed 11+ exam went to instead of grammar school) The study looked at the interaction of „structure‟ and „agency‟ Willis: main reason for the relative educational under- achievement of these pupils was that they actively chose a future involving hard . . This is the „agency‟ aspect of Willis‟ theory. unskilled manual work as a means of confirming their masculinity.
The „lads‟ – preparing for the factory floor The „ear‟oles‟ – seen by the lads as being effeminate. School as a pathway to a career . but they have not realised the long term disadvantages of unskilled manual work. Here their behaviour is influenced by the structure of society.Paul Willis ‘Learning to Labour: how working class kids get working class jobs’ (1977) (2) The boys have realised that their exam grades would not improve their employment prospects substantially.
with reduced potential for achieving in terms of traditional working class trades. „the macho lads‟ no longer have instrumental attitude to school. Mac an Ghail (1994) .unskilled manual work was widely available but the mass unemployment of the 1980s and early 1990s and the decline of manufacturing industry have changed attitudes to employment for many workingclass boys. Instead they seek alternative anti-school values and adopt „laddish‟ attitudes and behaviour .De-industrialisation In the mid 1970s .
2007. Skeggs. Reay et al. 2005. 2004). Savage et al.Cultural capital Some sociologists argue that working class students may be at an educational disadvantage not because their culture is deprived or inferior but because it is different and values and knowledge associated with their culture have less status in society. Reay. 2003. . 2004. 2001) + the pathologisation of the working classes (Lawler. Cultural analysis of class – expose the unacknowledged „normality‟ of the middle classes (Ball.
cultural dimensions of class stratification „Habitus‟ . and through individuals‟ experiences (Bourdieu and Waquant 1992: 54). Class cultures are different and working class children even if culturally different from middle and upper class children are culturally different rather than culturally deprived.„refers to a set of patterns of thought. . behaviour and taste that are acquired through the internalisation of culture and social structures.Pierre Bourdieu (1) French sociologist (1930-2002) Class distinctions and class cultures.
.Pierre Bourdieu (2) Concerned not only with inequality of educational opportunity but with the overall functions of education systems . Capitalist societies are class societies where the dominant classes use their power to maintain their class advantages Dominant class have the social power to ensure that their culture is defined as the culture which is superior to other class cultures The dominant classes have the power also to ensure that schools and colleges evaluate students in terms of the culture [knowledge. attitudes and skills] possessed by most of the dominant class children. but only rarely by working class children The dominant class culture can be learned only in dominant class families because schools and colleges do not teach this culture although they do assess students in terms of it.
.Bourdieu (3) Working class students are put at an educational disadvantage because they are assessed in terms of a dominant culture which they cannot learn at home or at school Bourdieu calls the knowledge attitudes and skills available to the dominant class children ‘cultural capital’ because its transmission from parents to children helps to perpetuate class advantages across the generations in the same way as the transmission of wealth does (economic capital) and useful social connections (social capital) Capitalist education systems may be seen as fair and meritocratic but for Bourdieu this is merely a convenient myth which hides the roles of education systems in the reproduction of capitalist class structures.
Identity transformation Reay (2009): Influenced by Bourdieu‟s class analysis Reay argues that working-class students need to transform their identity in order to succeed. Shaun: „In the classroom I am not myself…In the playground. yeah I‟m back to my normal self…just being normal‟ .
(p. „within education policy the prevailing focus has been on within-school processes.Beyond the school gate The Zombie Stalking English Schools: Social Class and Educational Inequality by Dianne Reay . a focus that has often been at the expense of understanding the influence of the wider economic and social context on schooling‟. 289) Good article if looking at social mobility and class .
Hidden curriculum: labelling. . Marxists criticised these explanations for not explaining why the working class were in lower streams and why they were the group which was labelled. This tended to produce low expectations of pupils. They argued that pupils accepted these labels and developed anti-school cultures. class and self-fulfilling prophecies Interactionist studies found that teachers stereotyped (labelled) pupils in lower streams/sets/bands in schools. This explanation pointed out that pupils were affected by what went on in school and not just at home. They argued that interactionists ignored power.
Classroom interactions Streaming and assessment procedures (Reay 2009): produces and reaffirms some as „academic stars‟ while producing sense of worthlessness among others. . „I‟ll be a nothing and do badly – very badly‟.
Important information withheld from lower band pupils because teachers believe they will not understand it Ball (1981) „Beachside Comprehensive‟: Informal ability grouping within “mixed ability” classes is also likely so that mixed ability teaching does not remove the problem of negative labelling. V unethical methodology! Nell Keddie (1970) „Classroom Knowledge‟: Streaming/banding.Some classic studies on streaming and teacherpupil interactions Hargreaves (1967): streaming in a boys‟ secondary modern school led to the development of „academic‟ and „delinquent‟ subcultures Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) „self-fulfilling prophecy‟: when teachers were provided with intentionally inaccurate assessments of pupils abilities this had a significant impact on pupil. .teacher interactions.
For this activity you should consider: The national curriculum subjects Teaching methods and delivery New or alternative forms of learning .Activity In your group. design a new curriculum that would better cater for the needs of all groups.
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