Education notes

Notes on Education underachievement.

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Differential education achievement and class
Economic and cultural capital and Marketisation
Ball, Bowe and Gewirtz
- (1995) claims that middle class parents are able to make better educational choices because of their
economic and cultural capital. For example, they can afford to pay extra travel costs to send their
children out of their catchment area and are better informed about school admissions, league tables etc.
Smith & Noble 1994
·Schools in affluent areas are better
Parents with money provide more
educational aids ­ computers, books, private tutors etc.
- Willis' study of 'the lads'
- a group of w/c rebels in a comprehensive school is similar to Bowles and Gintis' approach in
emphasizing the close relationship between education and work. Both adopt a marxist approach.
However Willis stresses the importance of 'the lads' counter culture and the shopfloor culture it
reflects. W/c resist dominant ideology.
- Unlike Bowles and Gintis who see the education system as allpowerful, Willis sees 'the lads' counter
culture as evidence of class struggle and w/c resistance.
Selection in Education ­ class
Hargreaves (1967)
Found that streaming is meant to be based on ability but is in fact linked to social class. He found that
working class students tend to be placed in `bottom' sets and middle class students in `top' sets.
He discovered that working class students go on to develop antischool subcultures as a response to
being labelled a `failure' by the school. A high value is then placed on truancy, lateness, bad behaviour
as this offers opportunities to gain status.
He found that many middle class students develop proschool cultures, which place a value on hard
work, getting to lessons on time etc.
1. Material deprivation lacking basic necessities due to poverty.
It is suggested that working class households have lower incomes than middle class households and are
therefore more likely to experience material deprivation. For example, Douglas (1964) found that a lack
of educational resources (e.g. books) poor diet, and `unsatisfactory' housing conditions lowered school
performance amongst the working class.
2. Cultural deprivation inadequate socialisation in the home.
Attitudes and values
Douglas (1964) argued that the working class home was somehow `deficient' as it often encouraged
immediate gratification. Douglas found working class parents placed less value on education, were less
ambitious and encouraging of their children's education than middle class parents. For example, they were

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Bernstein (1973) argues that working class students underachieve because they are socialised into a
restricted language code (e.g. small vocabulary, poor grammar, descriptive language) which does not fit
the elaborated code (e.g. wide vocabulary, good grammar, analytical language) favoured by the
educational system and which is used by many middle class students.
3. Economic capital
Bourdieu (1973) claims that economic capital ensures that the middle class can buy educational success.…read more

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Studies of pupil subcultures challenge stereotypes of African Caribbean pupils. E.g. Fuller's study of black
girls shows they keeps a positive selfimage despite the negative way they are labelled.
- Mac an Ghaill
- describes how gender regimes in schools operate through an informal hierarchy which gives high status
to heterosexual masculinity, but devalues femininity. Evident by the ways teachers control male pupils.
E.g. Accusing boys in low streams of acting like girls. Gender inequalities in education remain
significant.…read more

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Lobban's analysis of school reading schemes showed hidden messages about genderappropriate
behaviour Female world of housework and childcare Male world of work and activities outside the
- Hidden curriculum The girls Spender interviewed believed natural boys demand questions and girls
get on with the work. Teachers gave priority to boys and what girls said was less interesting and less
- Stanworth found boys dominated the classroom. Girls perceived lower in sexual hierarchy or worth
less attention and discrimination undermined girls' selfconfidence.…read more


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