Education - Class (Internal Factors)

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  • Education - Class (Internal Factors)
    • Labelling
      • To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to them
        • Teachers often label pupils regardless of their actual ability, instead it's based on stereotyped assumptions about their class background
      • Labelling in secondary schools
        • Dunne and Gazeley
          • Schools persistently produce working class under-achievement because of the labels and assumptions made by teachers
            • Teachers normalised the underachievment of working class pupils seeming unconcerned by it, whereas they believed they could overcome the under-achievement of the middle class pupils
              • The reason for the difference was teachers belief in the role of the pupils home background
                • Labelled working class parents as uninterested but labelled middle class parents as supportive
                  • This leads to differences in how teachers treat pupils they perceived as under-achieving
                    • Setting extension working for middle class under-achievers
                    • Entering working class under-achievers for easier exams
      • Labelling in primary schools
        • Rist
          • Studied an American kindergarten and found teachers used information about a child's home background and appearance to place them in separate groups
            • Tigers
              • Fast learners, who tended to be middle class and of a neat appearance, were seated the closest and given lots of encourage-ment
            • Cardinals and clowns
              • Seated further away and tended to by working class, they were given lower-level books to read and fewer chances to show their ability
    • The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
      • It's a prediction that comes true simply by virtue of it having been made
        • Interactionists argue labelling can affect pupils achievement by creating a self fulfilling prophecy
          • 1. The teachers labels a pupil and on the basis of this label will make predictions about them
            • 2. The teacher treats the pupil accordingly, acting as if the prediction is already true
              • 3. The teacher internalises the teachers expectation, which becomes apart of their self concept so they now become the pupil the teacher believed them to be
      • Rosenthal and Jacobson
        • Did a test on pupils to identify those pupils who would 'spurt' ahead, however they just randomly picked pupils who were the 'spurters'
          • A year later almost half of the 'spurters' had made significant progress
        • They suggest that the teachers beliefs about pupils had been influenced from the results of the test, the teacher conveyed these beliefs to the pupils
          • This demonstrates the self-fulfilling prophecy, simply by accepting the prediction. The fact the children were selected randomly suggests that if a teacher believes a pupil to be a certain type they can make them that way
    • Streaming
      • Separating children into different ability groups, each ability group is taught separately from the others for all subjects. The self fulfilling prophecy is likely when pupils are streamed
      • Becker
        • Teachers don't see working class children as 'ideal pupils' tend to see them as lacking ability and have low expectations of them. Working class pupils are more likely to find themselves put in a lower stream
          • Once streamed it's hard to move up, working class are locked into the teachers low expectation of them. Children in the lower streams 'get the message' teachers have written them of as no-hopers
            • This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy where the pupils live up to their teachers low expectations by under-achieving
      • Streaming and the A-to-C economy
        • Gillborn and Youdell
          • Teachers are less likely to see working class pupils as having ability, as a result these pupils are more likely to be placed in lower streams and entered for lower tier GCSE's, this denies them the opportunity needed to gain good grades
          • Publishing league tables creates an A-to-C economy, this is where schools focus all their time, effort and resources on those pupils who are more likely to get five C's to boost the schools league table position
        • Educational triage
          • The A-to-C economy produces educational triage. Schools categorise pupils into tree types
            • Those who will pass anyways and can be left to get on with it
            • Those with potential who will be helped to get a grade C or better
            • Hopeless cases, those who are doomed to fail
    • Pupil sub-cultures
      • Lacey
        • Differentiation
          • The process of teachers categorising pupils according to how they perceive their ability, streaming is a form of this
            • Those who are more able are given a higher status by being placed in a high stream, those who are deemed less able are placed in a low streams and are given an inferior status
        • Polarisation
          • Is the process in which pupils respond to streaming by moving towards one of two opposite 'poles'
      • Pro-school subculture
        • Pupils placed in high streams tend to remain committed to the values of the school, they gain their status in the approved manner- academic success
      • Anti-school subculture
        • Those placed in low streams suffer a loss of self-esteem the school has undermined their self worth by placing them in a position of inferior status
          • This label of failure pushes them to search for alternative ways of gaining status, this usually involves inverting the schools values of handwork, obedience and punctuality
            • Joining an anti-school subculture is likely to become a self fulfilling prophecy
    • Pupils' class identities and the school
      • Habitus
        • Refers to the learned ways of thinking, being and acting that are shared by a particular social class
          • One class's habitus is not better than another, the middle class has the power to define its habitus as superior and to impose on the education system, as a result the school puts a higher value on middle-class tastes
      • Symbolic capital and violence
        • Schools have a middle class habitus, pupils who've been socialised into the middle class taste gain symbolic capital and recognition from the school
          • Schools devalue the working class habitus, working class pupils tastes are deemed to be tasteless
            • Bourdieu
              • Calls the withholding of symbolic capital 'symbolic violence.' By defining the working class and their tastes as inferior, symbolic violence reproduces the class structure and keeps the lower classes in their place
      • 'Nike' Identities
        • Pupils were conscious that society and school looked down on them- find alternative ways of creating self worth- investing in styles eg. Nike
          • Wearing brands is a part of 'being me'. Style performances were heavily policed by peer groups, the right appearance earned symbolic capital and approval from peer groups
            • This also causes conflict with the school's dress code, reflecting on the schools middle class habitus teachers opposed 'street' style as showing bad taste
            • Archer
              • The schools middle class habitus stigmatises working class pupils identities. Pupils performances of style are a struggle for recognition, the middle class see their 'Nike identities' as tasteless, however to the young people they are a means of generating symbolic capital and self worth
      • Class identity and self-exclusion
        • Despite the class inequalities many more working class young people are going to university. However, the clash between working class identity and the habitus of higher education is a barrier to education- due to a process of self exclusion
          • Many working class people think of places like Oxbridge as being 'not for the likes of us' which comes from their habitus which include beliefs about what is for them, this leads to working class students excluding them selves from ellite universities
            • Studies show that a consistent pattern of a middle class education system devalues the experiences of the working class
              • As a result working class pupils are forced to chose between maintaining  their working class identities or conform to the middle class habitus to succeed

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