Social class and educational attainment Chris Deakin, 2006
The facts about working class children <ul><li>They are less likely to be found in nursery schools </li></ul><ul><li>More ...
Why is it ? Think about what some people say…. They are genetically less intelligent  The parents don’t raise them properl...
Home Factors   <ul><li>Some explanations mainly focus on a child’s background and how they are raised </li></ul><ul><li>Th...
CULTURAL FACTORS <ul><li>This is how a child is raised.  </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the environment that they </li></ul><ul><l...
Explanation 1: Functionalist Subcultural <ul><li>Hyman (1967)  – ‘the values of the lower    classes create a self-    imp...
<ul><li>Sugarman (1970)  – the way that manual/non-manual  </li></ul><ul><li>work affects attitudes to learning. </li></ul...
<ul><li>J W B Douglas (1964)   - ‘Home and the School’ </li></ul><ul><li>- parental attitudes and socialisation </li></ul>...
<ul><li>PARENTAL INTEREST </li></ul><ul><li>Visited schools more and were keen to support learning. </li></ul><ul><li>They...
<ul><li>PRE-SCHOOL SOCIALISATION </li></ul><ul><li>Stress HIGH ACHIEVEMENT – and not settling for second best </li></ul><u...
<ul><li>Feinstein (2003) – parental support & education </li></ul><ul><li>Conducted the National Child Development Study <...
Explanation 2: Language in the home <ul><li>This explanation focuses upon the language development that takes place in the...
Basil Bernstein (1972) <ul><li>Language is linked to developing understanding and thinking </li></ul><ul><li>There are two...
The benefits of an elaborate code <ul><li>Elaborate code enables people to think  </li></ul><ul><li>at a more deeper level...
The restricted code and the working class <ul><li>Working class families are based upon relationships  </li></ul><ul><li>t...
The elaborate code and the middle class Middle class families have less rigid relationships in them. The hierarchy is more...
Evaluation of the ‘subcultural’ approach <ul><li>Is social class so distinct today? </li></ul><ul><li>A biased theory – ul...
Explanation 4: Cultural Capital Theory <ul><li>Pierre Bourdieu </li></ul><ul><li>Education is biased towards the middle cl...
<ul><li>Schools  </li></ul><ul><li>reproduce  </li></ul><ul><li>dominant class </li></ul><ul><li>The powerful  </li></ul><...
Recent studies supporting Bourdieu <ul><li>Ball, Bowe & Gewirtz </li></ul><ul><li>They explored the way that middle class ...
MATERIAL FACTORS <ul><li>These relate more to money and  </li></ul><ul><li>resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly Marxist in ...
Explanation 5: Class Positional Theory <ul><li>Raymond Boudon </li></ul><ul><li>Argues that where you are positioned in th...
Further studies of material factors <ul><li>Smith & Noble (1995) </li></ul><ul><li>They note : </li></ul><ul><li>Marketisa...
Home Factors – Question & Answer <ul><li>ASSESS THE VIEW THAT WORKING-CLASS  </li></ul><ul><li>UNDERACHIEVEMENT IS THE RES...
planning Material Parental involvement Socialisation/values language Cultural Critique  Studies Details Types of factor
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  1. 1. Social class and educational attainment Chris Deakin, 2006
  2. 2. The facts about working class children <ul><li>They are less likely to be found in nursery schools </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be poor readers when they start school </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be in low sets at school </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to underachieve at GSCE and A Level </li></ul><ul><li>Less likely to go to university </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to leave school early </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be suspended and excluded </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why is it ? Think about what some people say…. They are genetically less intelligent The parents don’t raise them properly Parents don’t push them hard enough! They lack resources at home The teachers don’t like them as much as middle class kids So many are from families who don’t have any hopes for their children
  4. 4. Home Factors <ul><li>Some explanations mainly focus on a child’s background and how they are raised </li></ul><ul><li>These can focus on CULTURAL FACTORS (socialisation/attitudes/values) </li></ul><ul><li>Or can focus on MATERIAL FACTORS (resources/money) </li></ul>
  5. 5. CULTURAL FACTORS <ul><li>This is how a child is raised. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the environment that they </li></ul><ul><li>are reared in. </li></ul><ul><li>Its about how they are </li></ul><ul><li>SOCIALISED and what they </li></ul><ul><li>are taught to VALUE. </li></ul>Our Daz better be no wimp at school !
  6. 6. Explanation 1: Functionalist Subcultural <ul><li>Hyman (1967) – ‘the values of the lower classes create a self- imposed barrier to learning’ </li></ul><ul><li>- their values (1) low value on education </li></ul><ul><li>(2) ‘play safe’ culture – do not </li></ul><ul><li>take risks/investment </li></ul><ul><li>(3) low level of ‘self-belief’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Sugarman (1970) – the way that manual/non-manual </li></ul><ul><li>work affects attitudes to learning. </li></ul>Working class children tend to ‘live for today’ with a ‘carefree attitude’. No career plan..no long-game. They give up and opt for the easiest path! Individualist Collectivism Future oriented Present time orientation Deferred gratification Immediate gratification Control Fatalistic Middle class Working class
  8. 8. <ul><li>J W B Douglas (1964) - ‘Home and the School’ </li></ul><ul><li>- parental attitudes and socialisation </li></ul><ul><li>This was a landmark longitudinal study of 5’000 children </li></ul><ul><li>born in 1948. </li></ul><ul><li>Many tests used – covered so many areas </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered that middle class children were succeeding and choosing to stay on at </li></ul><ul><li>school. </li></ul><ul><li>Why was this so? </li></ul><ul><li>- parental interest </li></ul><ul><li>- pre-school socialisation </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>PARENTAL INTEREST </li></ul><ul><li>Visited schools more and were keen to support learning. </li></ul><ul><li>They were focused on ‘future success’ and how to get there. </li></ul><ul><li>They encouraged and supported their children’s learning. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>PRE-SCHOOL SOCIALISATION </li></ul><ul><li>Stress HIGH ACHIEVEMENT – and not settling for second best </li></ul><ul><li>Demand more of their children – keep the pressure on/re-do work again etc </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage constant improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Rewarding success </li></ul><ul><li>Having a STIMULATING environment </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Feinstein (2003) – parental support & education </li></ul><ul><li>Conducted the National Child Development Study </li></ul><ul><li>Findings: </li></ul><ul><li>- nursery schooling improved educational achievement </li></ul><ul><li>- the school attended made little difference, </li></ul><ul><li>but children with low ability did poorly in </li></ul><ul><li>schools with few children from </li></ul><ul><li>professional backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>- financial deprivation had some effect, </li></ul><ul><li>but seemed to be largely linked to </li></ul><ul><li>parental interest </li></ul><ul><li>- The most important factor was the extent </li></ul><ul><li>to which parents encouraged/supported </li></ul><ul><li>their children </li></ul>
  12. 12. Explanation 2: Language in the home <ul><li>This explanation focuses upon the language development that takes place in the home. </li></ul><ul><li>It claims that a child’s thinking can be helped or hindered by the language that a child is exposed to at home </li></ul><ul><li>It also notes how education and teachers operate with a middle-class bias </li></ul>
  13. 13. Basil Bernstein (1972) <ul><li>Language is linked to developing understanding and thinking </li></ul><ul><li>There are two language codes: - the restricted code - the elaborated code </li></ul>The restricted code Shorthand speech, short, simple sentences. Has an ‘assumed’ element to it. Meanings are implicit. Much depends on gesture and expression. The elaborated code Detailed, explanatory, illustrative, analytical. Meanings are explicit.
  14. 14. The benefits of an elaborate code <ul><li>Elaborate code enables people to think </li></ul><ul><li>at a more deeper level. </li></ul><ul><li>The elaborate code leads to a greater ability to use </li></ul><ul><li>‘ abstract thinking’. That is to use concepts and make </li></ul><ul><li>connections between ideas effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborate code enables greater explanation </li></ul><ul><li>and analysis to take place. </li></ul><ul><li>These skills are vital for achieving well at </li></ul><ul><li>school. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The restricted code and the working class <ul><li>Working class families are based upon relationships </li></ul><ul><li>that are hierarchical. No negotiation over decisions, </li></ul><ul><li>parents assume authority (‘No back-chat!’) and there is </li></ul><ul><li>no discussion or elaborate dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>The same is true of working class jobs too.. </li></ul><ul><li>manual workers know their place in a </li></ul><ul><li>hierarchy and have little scope to negotiate </li></ul><ul><li>and discuss. </li></ul><ul><li>This language code disadvantaged working </li></ul><ul><li>class children </li></ul>
  16. 16. The elaborate code and the middle class Middle class families have less rigid relationships in them. The hierarchy is more flexible. People here are treated more as individuals who are ‘entitled to have something to say’. These families share decision-making and negotiation is common place. The same is true of middle-class ‘non-manual’ jobs, where the middle class worker has more respect, freedom and independence. Schools operate with the elaborate code and therefore middle class children are at an advantage.
  17. 17. Evaluation of the ‘subcultural’ approach <ul><li>Is social class so distinct today? </li></ul><ul><li>A biased theory – ultra critical of working class lifestyle ( a kind of ethnocentricism) </li></ul><ul><li>Do the working class live in a vacuum – detatched from wider values and influence? </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of money/poverty prevent the working class from engaging with learning </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of working class jobs = less freedom to support children </li></ul><ul><li>Working class parents feel uncomfortable in schools where they were ‘failed’ </li></ul><ul><li>Methodologically difficult to research subcultures – hard to access ethnographic flavour of culture </li></ul><ul><li>A degree of ‘victimology’ – blaming the working class. These ideas maintain the myth that the w/c have equal opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>The working class is not just one group – it is not a homogenous mass…so inaccurate to treat it as such. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Explanation 4: Cultural Capital Theory <ul><li>Pierre Bourdieu </li></ul><ul><li>Education is biased towards the middle class </li></ul><ul><li>How middle class ‘dominant culture’ </li></ul><ul><li>converts into educational success. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Schools </li></ul><ul><li>reproduce </li></ul><ul><li>dominant class </li></ul><ul><li>The powerful </li></ul><ul><li>impose their </li></ul><ul><li>definition of reality </li></ul><ul><li>on others </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant culture = </li></ul><ul><li>cultural capital </li></ul><ul><li>(socialization) </li></ul><ul><li>working class </li></ul><ul><li>exam failure </li></ul><ul><li>(due to lacking </li></ul><ul><li>dominant culture) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-elimination </li></ul><ul><li>choose to drop </li></ul><ul><li>out/see unfair </li></ul><ul><li>system </li></ul><ul><li>Schools </li></ul><ul><li>reproduce </li></ul><ul><li>social inequality </li></ul><ul><li>Success/failure is </li></ul><ul><li>legitimated by </li></ul><ul><li>social hierarchy </li></ul>Cultural reproduction Social function of elimination Social reproduction
  20. 20. Recent studies supporting Bourdieu <ul><li>Ball, Bowe & Gewirtz </li></ul><ul><li>They explored the way that middle class parents </li></ul><ul><li>today have greater cultural capital and they: </li></ul><ul><li>- ‘play the system’ </li></ul><ul><li>- have more ‘stamina’ to research schools/appeal etc </li></ul><ul><li>- have material advantages to support their child, ie, </li></ul><ul><li>transport to go to ‘better school’ further away. </li></ul>
  21. 21. MATERIAL FACTORS <ul><li>These relate more to money and </li></ul><ul><li>resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly Marxist in emphasis. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on how a person’s financial </li></ul><ul><li>situation impacts on their child’s </li></ul><ul><li>learning. </li></ul><ul><li>This is not about values or </li></ul><ul><li>attitudes, but the realities of an </li></ul><ul><li>unfair society. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Explanation 5: Class Positional Theory <ul><li>Raymond Boudon </li></ul><ul><li>Argues that where you are positioned in the </li></ul><ul><li>social class structure will affect your life chances </li></ul><ul><li>and opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Primary effects of stratification </li></ul><ul><li>Socialisation – subculture/values </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary effects of stratification </li></ul><ul><li>Social effects – cost/benefit, rational choice, demotion/promotion, class & pressures </li></ul><ul><li>Material effects - poverty </li></ul>
  23. 23. Further studies of material factors <ul><li>Smith & Noble (1995) </li></ul><ul><li>They note : </li></ul><ul><li>Marketisation – competing schools since 1988, will lead to some skills succeeding and ‘creaming’ off the middle class ‘talented’ </li></ul><ul><li>Money – allows parents to provide educational toys, books, healthy diet, space, travel, private tuition </li></ul><ul><li>Schools now charge for trips/equipment which working class families can’t afford. LEAs cutting back on free school meals/transport costs </li></ul>
  24. 24. Home Factors – Question & Answer <ul><li>ASSESS THE VIEW THAT WORKING-CLASS </li></ul><ul><li>UNDERACHIEVEMENT IS THE RESULT OF HOME </li></ul><ul><li>CIRCUMSTANCES AND FAMILY BACKGROUND </li></ul>evaluate Home factors Think about the BLAME AGENDA here!!!! MAY 2005
  25. 25. planning Material Parental involvement Socialisation/values language Cultural Critique Studies Details Types of factor

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