educational attainment and ethnicity

  • Created by: lxigh
  • Created on: 27-03-19 19:50


- Britain is a multicultural society - long history of immigration of minority ethnic groups

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theoretical explanations

- functionalism - see some ethnic minorities as predisposed to fail in school and look for cultural/genetic explanations

- marxism - overlook in favour of class

- interactionism - see labelling, teachers, and institutionalised racism as being the causes of educational underattainment 

- feminism - girls from the ethnic minorities experience a double disadvantage - sexism and racism

- new right - agree with functionalism, but are very concerned with the percieved failure of boys, claiming that west Indian boys in particular lack suitable role models because single parenthood is more common

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genetic theories

- little/no evidence even though it has been proposed by New Right thinkers such as Murray, Herrnstein, Eyesnck, and others - the basis is that intelligence tests are a valid measure of ability

- Black African children tend to over-achieve compared to white children, while Black Caribbean pupils tend to under-achieve

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poverty and class

- Strand (1999) - in primary and secondary schools in London, both black and white able children from disadvantaged backgrounds failed to make the expected progress - however, Chinese and Indian heritage pupils tended to do better than predicted

- suggestions include the fact that ethnic minority children tend to attend low-performing schools, have low expectations placed upon them by teachers, and are percieved as having problem behaviour

- however the worst performing ethnic groups are white travellers and white w/c British pupils - this suggests that although racism is significant, it does not explain why pupils from some ethnic backgrounds underachieve

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english as an additional language

- government data suggests that approximately 10% of children in English schools have English as an additional language (EAL), and use different languages in their home

- over 90% of Bangladeshi children qualify as EAL, whereas only 7% of Black Caribbean pupils use a different language in their home than in their school

- 31% of EAL children are from low income families whereas only 15% of non-EAL qualify for free school meals

- EAL pupils are often at low starting points in infant school, but appear to make greater progress as they catch up with the language through school

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cultural differences

- Gypsy/Roma or Traveller children show that culture may impact on educational achievement - they tend to be from the most disadvantaged families - far more attend primary school than secondary school, suggesting that many families don't register their children as school

- Chinese children are consistently among the high attainers - it is thought that Chinese parents strongly encourage/demand high performance -- at GCSE, Chinese FSM students perform above the national average for all pupils

- Chua - Chinese parents are 'tiger parents' - they cannot accept failure

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- The Swan Report (1985) - schools should promote the idea of multicultural Britain because many of them are institutionally racist

- Gilroy, Sewess, Modood, and Safia Mirza - pointed to racist attitudes among schools and teachers 

- Wright (1992) - although they oppose racist views, teachers often have stereotypical attitudes - some children are seen as problematic, Asian girls are seen as submissive and are overlooked, Black Caribbean boys are seen as having low academic ability -- leads to poor behaviour

- Childline (2013) - 1'400 cildren reported incidents of racism in schools, evidence that young Muslims are being called offensive names linked to terrorism and Islamophobia - an increase from 802 in 2012, although tere is no way to be sure if there is more bullying or whether more people are reporting incidents

- Hall - racism in schools led to the rejection of schooling by Black Caribbean boys - the 'culture of resistance'

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ethnocentric curriculum

- one's own culture is central to an understnading of the world

- the national curriculum over looks the contribution of non-while people to British history, Black people are usually only considered in a negative view or in steroetypes, such as slavery

- non-whites are frequently overlooked, which damages the self esteem of non-white children in schools

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single parenthood and the new right

- African Caribbean communities tend to have relatively high levels of lone parenthood - financial challenge is a known factor of low school attainment

- the New Right are very critical of single motherhood - it contributes to huge social problems among te poor

- Wright and others - single mothers can be positive role models for young girls - this may account for the relatively high rates of achievement for Black Caribbean girls compared to Black Caribbean boys

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