Sample Essay on Ethnicity and Education

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Assess the claim that "ethnic differences in educational achievement are
primarily the result of school factors."
An ethnic group is one that sees itself as culturally distinct from other groupings in a society
and is seen by others as distinctive. Most studies have found out that, overall, ethnic
minorities tend to do less well than other members of the population, in educational
performance. School Factors such as teacher expectation, institutional racism, ethnocentric
curriculum and finally the selection process. But there is also other factors that affect
educational achievement such as cultural, material and linguistic deprivation.
Most pupils within the UK education system are labelled when they come into a classroom
for the first time. This is so that the teacher can "pigeon hole students." However a number
of studies have shown that labels are simply based on stereotypes rather than hard evidence.
Hargreaves, Hunter and Mellor said there are 3 distinct steps to labelling Speculation
Elaboration and Stabilisation. Studies shows that teachers may be responding to media
stereotypes of black youths as criminals, "gangsta rappers" or at least a problem in the
classroom. The discrimination suffered by some groups inevitably affect their attitudes to
education. Bernard Coard claims that the British Education System actually makes black
children become educationally subnormal by making them feel "inferior in every way" Coard
believes that teaches expect black children to fail and this produces a selffulfilling prophesy
where they live upto their label and as result form antischool subcultures and reject the
values and ethos of the school. Gilborn and Youndell identified a serious amount of black
students being entered for foundation their meaning that they can only get a C grade. Mac an
Ghill took this a step further by stating that many teachers see many black Caribbean boys
are seen being indiscipline. This shows that Ethnic Minority's are treated from their White
counterparts and that the teachers themselves treat Ethnic Minority's differently which leads
to educational underachievement.
Institutional Racism is the workings of organisations, rules and practices that have the effect
of discriminating against particular ethnic groups. Gillborn (2002) argues that schools are
institutionally racist. The increased marketisation of schools has led to the A*C economy
whereby teaches are forced to focus on those in danger of not realising their potential for an
C and above grade. School can be invertible racist for example (Wright) the mispronouncing
of names and being insensitive towards this. Studies also show that black students are
pushed into more vocational courses rather than academic and this untimely leads to ethnic
minorities to be under represented in 3rd level education. The above explanations help us
understand that some ethnic minority children may form subcultures as a response to
negative labelling and low selfesteem. Ethnicminority boys in particular are most likely to
rebel against education and take a fatalistic attitude.
An ethnocentric curriculum denotes a school syllabus that reflects the dominant culture and
ignores or marginalises the cultures of less influential ethnic groups. This means that it
excludes knowledge of different cultures and concentrates only on White British events.
Coard in 1971 observed the absence of black literature, history and music in the curriculum.
And in 2006 tikly et al found that a sufficient number of AfroCarribean pupils noted their
invisibility in the curriculum. This neglect means that ethnic minority groups can feel excluded
and demotivated in learning and a lack selfesteem.

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Families that have just moved to the country don't have the advantage of making an
informed choice on where to send their son/daughter. Middle Class families also occupy
most of the "good schools" catchment areas therefore working class and ethnic minorities
don't get a look in. it is suggested that it cost between 15/75 thousand pound more to buy a
house in a good school catchment area.
Other factors could be family life.…read more


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