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Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the view
that workingclass children underachieve because they are
Cultural deprivation refers to a lack of the `cultural equipment' they need to succeed in
school, such as, language, attitudes and values and intellectual development. Many
sociologists have stated that working class have lower educational achievement
because they have not been socialised properly by their parent. . Using Item A and
elsewhere I am going to assess the view that working class children underachieve
because they are culturally deprived.
Cultural deprivation can effect achievement due to lack of the right language skills.
Bernstein (1975) identified that working class pupils use the restricted speech code,
whereas, middle class use the elaborated speech code. The elaborated speech code
allows middle class children to use a wider range of vocabulary and more complex
sentences, on the other hand, working class use limited vocabulary, simple sentences
and use lots of hand gestures when talking. Bernstein believed that it was the
differences between the speech codes gave middle class children an advantage over
working class children in school. This is because the elaborated code is used within
textbooks, by teachers and is the language an examiner expects the child to use within
their exam. Early socialisation means middle class children are already fluent using the
elaborated code meaning they are more likely to succeed. However, Bernstein
recognises that working class children fail because schools fail to teach them how to
use the elaborated speech code; not because they are culturally deprived.
Bereiter and Engelmann claim that the language used in lower class homes is deficient.
They described that working class families use gestures, single word sentences and
disjointed phrases when communicating. As a result the children do not gain the
necessary language skills and are incapable of abstract thinking, and cannot use
language to explain, describe, enquire or compare. Due to this, they are unable to take
advantage of the opportunities schools offer.
Cultural deprivation theorists believe that one of the reasons for low educational
achievement by working-class pupils is due to lack of materials such as books, toys and
computers that are needed to fuel the child's intellectual development. Children that
are from homes without these needed materials are therefore starting school without
the intellectual skills needed to succeed. Douglas (1954) found that working-class pupils
scored lower than middle-class pupils because parents were less likely to support their
child's intellectual development by reading with them or other educational activities.
Bernstein and Young (1967) also found that the way mothers think about and choose
toys effects their child's educational achievement. Working- class mothers were less
likely to buy their child toys that are educational and middle-class mothers were more
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likely to buy toys that would encourage thinking and reasoning skills; therefore, making
their child better prepared when starting school.
Item A discusses how working-class pupils under-achieve because of lack of parental
interest and stimulation in the home. The parental interest was measured by the
amount of times the parent visited the teacher and what the teacher thought of the
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like Bourdieu believe that it cannot simple be blamed on one aspect of the child's life.
While sociologists like Feinstien may argue that the lack of parental interest is the sole
factor for the underachievement by working-class pupils other sociologist like Bourdieu
would argue that cultural deprivation is not the sole reason but is intertwined with
material deprivation and both are contributing factors for the underachievement in
working class pupils.…read more