Class differences in Education (external factors)


Cultural Deprivation overview

Primary Socialisation - Values, attitudes and skills needed for educational success that we have acquired from parents.

Cultural equipment: language, self-disclipline and reasoning skills

Children will be culturally deprived if they grow up without the 'cultural equipment' needed and will under-achieve. 

3 main aspects of cultural deprivation

- Language

- Parent's education

- Working class subculture

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Cultural Deprivation - Language

Language is an essential part of the education process

Hubbs-Tait et al (2002) found that parents that used language that challeneged their children to think (eg. 'what do you think?') their cognitive performance improved. 

By contrast, less educated parents used more discriptive language and resulted in a lower performance from the children. 

Bernstein (1975) identified that the working class used the restricted code and the middle class typically used the elaborate code. 

These codes give middle class an advantage and working class a disadvantage because most exams are written in elaborate code / schools taught in elaborate code.

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Cultural Deprivation - Parent's education

Douglas (1964) found that working-class parents placed less value on education. This made them less ambitious for their children, gave less encouragment, visited school less often resulting in their children having low levels of ambition and motivation. 

Feinstein (2008) argues that if the parent is better educated, they're more able to socialse their children better.

Parenting style - educated parents emphasise constant discipline and encourage active learning whereas less educated parents emphasise harsh inconsistant discipline leading to pooerer motivation and problems interacting with teachers.

Use of income - educated parents have a higher income. Bernstein and Young (1976) found middle class mothers more likley to buy educational toys, books games etc. Working class homes lack these resources. 

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Cultural Deprivation - Working class subculture

A Subculture is a group whose attitudes and values differ from those of mainstream culture.

Sugarman (1970) argues working class subcultures beleive in 4 things:

  • Fatalism - Beliveing in fate and 'whatever will be will be'
  • Collectivism - valued being part of a group more than suceeding as an individual
  • Immediate gratification - seeking pleasure now rather than making sacrifices for the future 
  • (Deferred gratification - middle-class making sacrifices for now rather than later.)
  • Present-time orientation - having no long term goals, seeing the oresent as more important than the future. 
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Evaluation points for Cultural Deprivation

- Compensatory education like Head Start helped to develop skills and instil motivation into children at pre-school. It also helped the parents to improve their parenting skills by nursery classes and home visits by educational psychologists. 

- Programmes like Sesame street was initially part of head start and transmitted values, attitudes and skills needed for educational success. E.g. numeracy, literacy and punctuality. 

Myth of cultural Deprivation?

- Keddie (1973) describs cultural deprivation as a 'myth' and sees it as victim blaming.

- She also argues that working-class children are culturally different not culturally deprived and only fail because they are out at a disadvantage by the education system as it is dominated by middle class values. 

- She argues that schools should build on it's strengths and should challenge teachers' anti-working-class prejudices.

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Other critics reject the view that working-class parents aren't interested in their Child's education:

Tessa Blackstone and Jo Mortimore (1994) argue that working-class parents atttened fewer parents evenings, not because of lack of interest, but because they work longer/less regular hours. They may want to help but lack the knowledge.

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Material Deprivation overview

Many sociologists see Material Deprivation as the main cause of underachievement.

There's a close link between poverty and social class. 

Facts and figures:

  • - According to the Department of Education, 1/3 of pupils eligible for free school meals achieve 5 or more GCSE's A*-C compared with 2/3 of other pupils.
  • - Exclusion and truancy are more likely for children from poorer families.
  • - 90% of 'failing' schools are located in deprived areas. 

Working class families more likely to have a low income and inadequate housing. 

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Material Deprivation - Housing

Direct effects

Overcrowding can have a direct effect:

  • Making it harder for a child to study
  • Less room for educational activites
  • Disturbed sleep from sharing bedrooms etc. 

Development can be impaired through lack of space. 

- Families living in temporoary accomodation may have to move a lot disrupting education with constant changes of schools. 

Indirect effects

- Cold/damp houses can cause ill health = time off school

- Fmilies in temporary accomodation can suffer psychological distress, infections and accidents. 

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Material Deprivation - Diet and Health

Howard (2001) suggets that young people from poorer homes have lower energy levels.

Poor nutrition can effect health and may result in more absences from school due to illness or diffuclties concentrating in class. 

Children from poorer homes are more likely to have behavioural problems.

Wilkinson (1996) found that among 10 yr olds, the lower the class, the higher the rate of hyperactivity and anxiety - concluding in negative effects on child's education. 

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Material Deprivation - Fear of Debt

Attitudes towards debt may deter working-class children from going to University. 

Calllender and Jackson (2005) found that working-class students saw debt negatively and saw more costs than beneifts. 

  • As tuition fees have risen to over £9,000 a year, UCAS found that the number of UK applicants fell by 8.8% in 2012 compared with the previous year. 
  • A National Union Study found that 81% of those from the highest social class, had help from their families as againts only 43% of those from the lowest class. 

Financial factors are also a deterrence as Reay (2005) found that working-class students were more likely to apply for local universities so they could live at home and save on travel.  

However this gave them less oppurtunities and were more likely to work part-time to fund for their studies. 

- They're also more likely to dropout. 

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Evaluation Points

- There has been an introduction of bursuries and grants that can be offered for working-class students that can't afford University fees. 

- Pupils can still apply for schools outside catchment area.

- Schools are providing breakfast clubs and free school meals.

- Apprenticiships can lead to better paid jobs.

- Schools now paying for things such as school trips/equipment/uniform/ free transport etc.

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Cultural Capital overview

Bordieu (1984) argues that both cultural and material factors contribute to educational achivevement. They're not seperate but interrelated. 

Cultural capital - knowledge, attitudes, values, languages, tastes and abilities of the middle class that get passed down to the next generation by Socialisation. 

Bordieu sees the middle class culture as capital as it gives an advantage to those who possess it. These abilites are highly rewarded in school with qualifications. The education system favours the middle-class.

By contrast, working class students think that school devalues their culture as inferior and their lack of cultural capital leads them to exam failure.

Educational and economic capital - Parents can convert their economic capital into educational capital by sending their children to private schools and paying for extra tuition. 

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Criticisms of cultural capital

Sullivan found that cultural capital only accounted for part of the class difference in achievement. Middle class pupils still did better than pupils from different classes eventhough they had the same level of cultural capital. 

He also says that the greater the resources and aspirations of middle class families explains the remainder of the class gap in achievement. 

Topic Summery:

Cultural deprivation - working-class pupils lack of the right attidudes, values, language and knowledge for success. 

Material Deprivation - working-class pupils more likely to have poorer diets, health and housing, parents unable to meet hidden costs of schooling.

Cultural Capital - Values, attidudes, beliefs passed onto middle-class pupils through socialisation.

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