Education and Research Methods

All my own notes on Sociology Unit 2.

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Sociology Unit 2
Topic 1: the role of education in society.
There are a number of reasons for the introduction of State Education towards the end of
the 19th century:
Attitudes began to change; belief that education is right and that children should not
be working dangerous jobs.
Concerns about the poor and the belief that education could improve society was
becoming popular.
There were concerns that England was losing power as a global force. The
government believed that an educated, literate workforce was the solution.
However there was opposition to the introduction of state education. Some believed that
teaching the poor to think and be literate could cause civil unrest and others were worried
education would reduce the economic contribution of children to families and factories.
1. Society has certain needs, the most important of which is the needs for social order
without which society would tend to disintegrate.
2. Stress that the education system is a meritocracy. This is the idea everyone has equal
opportunity for achievements and anyone regardless of their background.
3. Individuals are filtered so that they can be allocated to the most appropriate job for
them. The perspective argues inequality is a natural feature of society since people
are born with different talents.
4. For society to function there has to be a method of ensuring all the necessary
occupational roles are filled.
The norms/values transmitted by schools are not necessarily those of society as a
whole, but those from the middle classes. Marxists would claim schools actually
transmit the values of the ruling class.
The ability of the education system to equip students with practical and technical
skills has the ability to be queried.
Most training in schools is too academic and there has never been a vocational
sector which has the same status as educational knowledge.

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Believe schools transmit norms and values that create social stability in society.
However, they believe it is based on the internalisation of the values and ideologies
of the ruling class.
2. Reproducing the inequalities and social relations of production of capitalist society.
3. Serves to legitimate these inequalities through the myth of meritocracy.
Correspondent's theory:
Education serves to reproduce the capitalist relations of production ­ hierarchy of
workers from boss down.…read more

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The Government has tried to reduce the material deprivation faced by working class
pupils, such as:
EMA is used to support parents and is given to older children making less need for
them to have a part time job.
Positive discrimination, putting money into poorer areas, to improve the
environment children are living in.
2. Cultural deprivation theory
Differences in educational attainment occur because different classes have different
attitudes to education.…read more

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Restricted code: a kind of short hand speech which uses short, simple, unfinished
sentences as the speaker takes for granted that the listener knows what they are talking
Research suggests that most middle class children have been taught in both the
restricted and elaborated code whereas working class children only use the restricted
code. Since teachers use the elaborated code, working class children are at a
4.…read more

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Pupils in schools are constantly being assessed and classified; they are defined as being able
or less able. Teachers are more likely to define middle rather than working class pupils as
able, a good student and well behaved.
Self-fulfilling prophecy: if a child is labelled as bright, others will tend to respond to them
and interpret their actions in terms of this label. The pupil will act in terms of the label and
see themselves as bright so fulfilling the prophecy others have made.…read more

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Interactionalist Evaluation:
What is taught in schools disadvantages the working class. Working class experience
is almost invisible in the curriculum.
Neo-Marxist Ramsey (1983) claimed knowledge is being used as a farm of social
control, and behind the facade of Maths/English there is a hidden curriculum to keep
working class/ethnic minority children in their place.
Recent government policies emphasis importance of differentiating between pupils
to provide more personalised education. On one hand, this promotes the idea of a
need to be taught in different ways.…read more

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One argument concerning outside school factors is that differential educational achievement
of ethnic groups reflects the social class backgrounds of these groups. A higher proportion
of Indian and Chinese children are middle class than other ethnic groups and this is why they
do well at school. Whereas African-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities have a
higher rate of working class and this is why they underachieve.…read more

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Archer found Chinese students and parents placed high value on education. For both middle
and working class families, university was `a must'. Parents invested considerable time,
energy and money in their children's education. A family's status is partly due to the
educational performance of the children.
Inside school factors
Pupil responses
Sewell (1996) argues Black culture, puts style and instant gratification ahead of the values of
school and college. Black males see educational success as a feminine thing.…read more

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Although gender gap is significant it is important to note that class has over 5 times the
effect than gender and ethnicity has twice the effects.
Why has girls achievement improved?
The job market
Men have traditionally gone into semi-skilled and unskilled work but there has been a decline
in these sectors, and an increase in service sector jobs involving care for others which
require sensitivity and interpersonal skills.…read more

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They are
often surprised when they fail exams and tend to put it down to bad luck rather than lack of
Laddish behaviour/peer group status
Some working class boys attempts to deal with the identity problems by adopting an
aggressive macho laddishness. Paul Willis showed that male peer groups are more powerful
force within the education system.…read more



This is a brilliant revision summary, thank you so much for compiling it and uploading for students like me. Again, a really good revision summary!


this is amazing

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