Essay Plans for: Gender and Achievement; Cultural Deprivations

These are in depth essay plans for two AQA past 20 mark exam questions. The pink section shows the main body of the essay, the orange is the contrasting side, the blue is linking the item material to content within the essay.

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Sociology Essays…read more

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that gender differences in
education achievement are primarily the `result of changes in wider society' (20 Marks)
Rise of Feminism Feminisation of Education
Since the 1960's, traditional stereotypes of a woman's role have been challenged. Changes in education mean that schools no longer encourage masculine traits such
McRobbies research compared girls magazines in the 70's and the 90's. She found as competition and leadership, instead concentrating on more feminine qualities
that in the 70's there was an emphasis on getting married and not getting `left on the such as methodical working and attentiveness.
shelf' but in the 90's they contained images of independent, assertive women. Assessment is different too, with more female friendly testing ­ coursework and
Caused a lot of changes in media messages and images. spaced out exams.
Sewell says that coursework should be replaced with final exams and a greater
Raised women's expectations and their self esteem.
emphasis should be placed on outdoor achievement.
Changes in Family Shortage of Male Primary School Teachers
Since the 1970's there have been increased numbers of divorces, more cohabitation, There is an increasing lack of strong positive role models at schools, which is not
fewer first marriages. More lone parent families and smaller family sizes (more made better by the fact that there is often no role model at home either.
economic liability)
Laddish subcultures
These changes have affected girls attitudes and since then, women have had roles as
Boys do not want to be labelled as swots by their peers due to the threats to their
the breadwinner, financial independence and they need good qualifications to be able
masculinity and hence group mentality means that they are likely to disregard
to achieve this.
education to fit in.
Changes in Women's Employment
Equal pay act in 1970; Sex discrimination act 1975; increased number of women in
employment 2007 (70%) due to the growth of the service sector and flexible work "Changing employment opportunities" ­ changes in
patterns. women's employment, changing ambitions, decline in
The pay gap has decreased from 30% in 1975 to 17% now. Women are breaking
through the "glass ceiling".
traditional men's jobs
"Education system has feminised" ­ feminisation of
Changing Ambitions
Researching of Sue Sharp 1994 ­ compared results of interviews with girls that she
conducted in 1970's with those from 1990's. They went from having low aspirations to "A lack of male primary school teachers" ­ shortage of male
having careers and being able to support themselves.
primary school teachers
Becky Francis 2001 ­ girls now have high aspirations and few see their future as
being in traditional female jobs roles. "Impact of feminist ideas" ­ rise of feminism
Decline in Traditional Men's Jobs
Less labour intensive jobs which men may have previously strived for. Working class
jobs have disappeared, leaving them with a lack of self esteem.
Boys and Literacy
Women tend to read more to their daughters and literary interests are seen as being
much more female-oriented.
Shortage of Male Role Models
Lack of aspirational and inspirational male role models in working class homes. Single
parent families suffer from this especially, as expressed by the New Right ­ maybe ill
disciplined children will play up at school, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy where
the children fail.…read more

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that working class children
under achieve because they are culturally deprived. (20 marks)
Intellectual development The Myth of Cultural Deprivation
Development of thinking and reasoning skills, using ideas and concepts. Cultural Nell Keddie (1973) describes cultural deprivation as a `myth' and believes it is a
deprivation theorists argue that working class homes often lack the books, educational victim blaming explanation.
toys and activities that would stimulate a child's intellectual development. Douglas She points out that a child cannot be deprived of it's own culture and that working
(1964) found that working class pupils scored lower on tests of ability than middle class class children are culturally different, not deprived.
pupils. He argues that this is because working class parents are less likely to support Keddie argues that rather than seeking working class culture as deficient, schools
their children this way. should recognise and build upon it's strengths, as well as challenging teachers
Bernstein and Young (1967) found that the way mothers think about and choose toys anti-working class prejudices, reducing labelling and hence self fulfilling prophecy.
can affect a child's intellectual development ­ middle class mothers are more likely to Material Deprivation
choose toys that encourage thinking and reasoning skills to prepare children for school. Others see working class children as under achieving because of factors relating
Language to their poverty and lack of material necessities.
Housing: less room for educational activities, nowhere to do homework, disturbed
Bereiter and Engelmann (1966) claim that the language used in lower-class homes is sleep from shared beds or rooms. Also, sickness from damp. Poor housing can
deficient. They describe lower class families as communicating using gestures, single lead to psychological distress, infections and accidents more time off school.
words and disjointed phrases. Diet and Health: Howard (2001) notes that young people from poorer homes
Bernstein (1975) identifies difference between working class and middle class language have lower intakes of energy, vitamins and minerals. These children are more
The restricted code: limited vocab. It is context bound and assumes that the listener likely to experience anxiety, hyperactivity and conduct disorders, which all are
has the same kind of experiences. likely to have a negative effect on the child's education.
The elaborated code: typically used by the middle class; used in text books. Not Financial support and the cost of education: Lack of financial support means
context bound so the speaker uses language to spell out meanings to the listener. that children from poor families have to do without equipment and miss out on
These differences in speech code give middle class children an advantage at school educational experiences. They may be bullied or stigmatised by peers as a result.
because the elaborated code is used in exams, textbooks and by teachers. Working class children often have to take on jobs to help support themselves and
Early socialisation into the elaborated code means that middle class children are this often had a negative impact on their schoolwork. These restrictions help to
already fluent users when they start school and subsequently feel `at home'. explain why working class pupils often leave school at 16 and why relatively few
go onto University.
However Bernstein says that working class pupils fail mainly because schools fail to
teach them how to use the elaborated code.
Attitudes and Values
Cultural deprivation theorists argue that parent's attitudes and values are a key factor in
affecting achievement.
Douglas found that working-class parents placed less value on their children, were less
ambitious for their children, gave them less encouragement and took less interest in "the stimulus lacking in their homes" ­ intellectual
their education. Their children consequently had lower levels of achievement of development, material deprivation
Feinstein (1998) found that lack of parental interest from working class parents had "lack of parental interest" ­ intellectual development
more of an effect on children's efforts than financial hardship or internal factors.
Sugarman (1970) argues that working class subcultures has four key features that act
as a barrier to educational achievement: fatalism, collectivism, immediate
gratification, present time orientation. Working class children internalise the beliefs
and values of their subculture and this results in them underachieving at school.…read more


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