Ethnicity + Achievement...

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  • Created on: 20-02-19 21:37

Intellectual + Linguistic skills

  • Many children from low income black fams lack intellectual stimulation and enriching experiences - leaving them poorly equipped for school bc they haven't been able to develop reasoning + problem-solving skills
  • Bereiter + Engleman consider the lang spoken by low income black American fams as inadequate for educational success - saw it as ungrammatical, disjointed + incapable of expressing abstract ideas
  • The PSI study found that lack of fluency in English was a significant problem for some groups - amongst men nearly everyone spoke English fluently + amongst women about 1/5 of Pakistani's and Bangladeshi's were not fluent
    • However, Gillborn + Mirza (2000) point out that the very high attainment of Indian pupils suggests that having English as an Additional lang is not a barrier to success 
  • Demie's (2018) findings suggest that the percentage of pupils attaining expected outcomes at KS2 + GCSE increased as the stage of proficiency in English increased.
    • pupils in the early stages of English proficiency performed at low levels, while the achievement of EAL pupils who were fully fluent in English far outstripped that of pupils who had English as their first language
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Family differences, attitudes + values - Moynihan,

  • Theorists argue that black children are socialised into a subculture that instils 'live for today' attitude that doesn't value education + leaves them unequipped for success
  • Moynihan: A cycle
    • many black fams are headed by single mothers + lack adequate care due to financial struggle which leads to long work hours
    • males then lack a male role model of male achievement
    • children from unstable fams go on to fail at school + become inadequate parents
  • Murray - high rate of lone parenthood + lack of posititve role models leads to underachievement of some minorities
  • Ken Pryce - Asians are more resistant to racism + have higher self worth
    • Black Caribbean culture is less cohesive/resistant to racism
      • impact of slavery has been culturally devastating w/ people losing their language, religions + fam structure - producing low self-esteem + therefore unachievement
        • However, Lawrence argues that black pupils underachieve not bc of low self-esteem, but bc of racism
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External factors

Cultural deprivation:

  • Language + Intellectual skills 
  • Family differences, attitudes + values - Moynihan, Murray + Pryce 

Material deprivation:

  • Social class + material deprivation
  • Racism in wider society - Mason, Rex
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Internal factors

  • Labelling theory - Gillbourn, Youdell + Wright
  • Pupil identities - Archer
  • Ethnocentric curriculum (Coard)
  • Institutional racism in schools - Gillborn
  • Pupil subcultures - Mirza, Mac an Ghail, Sewell
  • Rejecting negative labels and low self-esteem - Fuller
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Evaluation of cultural deprivation

  • Keddie sees cultural deprivation as a victim-blaming explanation - she argues that ethnic minority children are culturally different, not culturally deprived
    • they underachieve because schools are ethnocentric: biased in favour of white culture and against minorities
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Social class + material deprivation

 Palmer ethnic minorities more likely to experience material deprivation:

  • almost half live in low-income households - 1/4 white
  • twice as likely to be unemployed compared to whites
  • three times mre likely ot be homeless
  • almost half of Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers earned under £7 per hour, compared to 1/4 o white British workers
  • more likely to be engaged in shift work
  • Bangladeshi and Pakistani women more likely to be engaged in low paid home working

There's many reasons some ethnic minorities may be at greater risk of the material deprivation that results from unemployment, low pay + overcrowding

  • they live in economically depressed with high unemployment + low wages
  • some cultural traditions prevent women from working outside the home - purdah
  • lack of language skills and foreign qualifications aren't recogised by UK employers
  • racial discrimination in the labour market and housing market
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Social class + material deprivation 2

  • In contrast to the results for pupils not entitled to FSM, is that among those entitled to FSM all ethnic minority groups achieve greater success than White British pupils
    • In 2013 relative to White British students the odds for Chinese pupils achieving 5EM were 6.9 times greater, for Indian students 3.4 times greater, for Bangladeshi 3.0 times, for White other 1.6 times, for Black Caribbean 1.5 times and even for the lowest achieving minority group, Mixed White + Black Caribbean students, the oods for achieving 5EM were 1.26 times (26%) higher than for White British students (DfE 2015)
  • This suggets that material deprivation and social class factors do not completely override the influence of ethnicity.
    • Modood (2004) found that, while children from low-income fams generally did less well, the effects of low income were much less for other ethnic groups than White pupils
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Racism in wider society - Mason, Rex

  • Some sociologists argue that poverty is itself the product of another factor - namely racism
  • Mason highlights that 'discrimination is a continuing and persistent feature of the experience of  Britain's citizens of minority ethnic origin'
  • Rex shows how racial discrimination leads to social exclusion and how this worsens the poverty faced by ethnic minorities 
    • In housing discrimination means minorities are more likely to be forced into substandard housing than white people of the same class
  • There's also evidence of direct + deliberate discrimination in employment
    • Wood et al used a study to send 3 closely matched job application forms to employers. The applications appeared to come from white applicants and applicants from an ethnic minority group
      • Only 1 in 16 'ethnic minority' applicants were offered an interview, compared to 1 in 9 'white applicants'
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Labelling theory - Gillbourn and Youdell + Wright

  • Black + Asian pupils seen by teachers as far from the 'ideal pupil'
    • Black pupils - disruptive + Asian pupils - passive 
      • negative labels may lead teachers to treat ethnic minority pupils differently - disadvantaging them and possibly resulting in their failure 
  • Research by Gillborn and Youdell (2000) has argued that racism continues to play an impirtant part in disadvantaging ethnic minorities in the educational system
    • they argue that the expectations helf over black students were comparatively low and they were systematically denied access to the sets, groups and exam that would've gave them the best chance at success
  • teachers are quicker to discipline black pupils - result of 'racialised expectations' (stereotypes)
  • expected black pupils to present more discipline problems + misinterpreted behaviour as threatening 
  • pupils then react negatively and lead to more conflict
  • black pupils felt teachers underestimated their ability and picked on them
  • result of A-C economy/triage - black pupils more likely to be in lower sets 
    • may explain the high level of exclusions of black boys (permanent + unofficial exclusions) or sent out of class/placed in PRU (Pupil Referral Unit)
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Labelling theory - Gillbourn and Youdell + Wright

  • Wright's research in a multi ethnic primary school found that Asian pupils were subject to labelling - teachers took for granted that British Culture and Standard English wre superior which affected how they related to Asian pupils:
    • assumed that Asian pupils would have a poor grasp of English and left them out of class discussions/used simplistic + childish language
    • Asian pupils felt isolated when teahers expressed disapproval of their customs or mispronounced their names
    • teachers did not see Asian pupils as a threat, but as a problem they could ignore - Asian girls were also maginalised and prevented from fully participating 
  • Mac an Ghaill (1992) found that there wasn't a direct relationship between teachr expectation + achievement 
    • Ethnographic study of a Midlands sixth form college: foud that the way the students perceived + responded to schooling varied and was influenced by the ethnic groups to which they belonged, their gender + the class composition of their former secondary school
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Pupil identities - Archer

  • Archer (2008) argues that teacher's way of seeing define ethnic minority pupils' identities as lacking the favoured identity of the ideal pupil - she describes how the dominant discourse (way of seeing) constructs three pupil identities:
    • The ideal pupil identity: a white, m/c, masculinised identity, with a normal sexuality - the pupil is seen as achieving in the 'right way', through natural ability + initiative
    • The pathologised pupil identity: an Asian, 'deserving poor', feminised identity, either asexual or with an oppressed sexuality - pupil seen as poldding, conformist + culture bound 'over-achiever', a slogger who succeeds through hard work rather than natural ability 
    • The demonised pupil identity: a black/white w/c, hyper-sexualised identity - pupil seen as unintelligent, peer-led, culturally deprived underachiever
  • Ethnic minority pupils are likely to be seen as either demonised/pathologised pupils
    • Black students - demonised 'loud, challenging, unaspirational'
    • Asian girls - quiet, docile + passive 
    • Chinese pupils pathologised and seen as getting success the 'wrong way' through hardworking, passive conformism rather than natural ability 
  • Therefore, even the success of ethnic minority (+ female) pupils will only be seen as 'over-achievement' - since 'proper' achievement is seen to be the natural preserve of the privileged, white, m/c ideal pupil
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Pupil subcultures - Mirza, Mac an Ghaill + Sewell

  • Mac an Ghaill's (1992) study of Black + Asian 'A' level students at a sixth form college drew similar conclusions to Archer's study - they found that students responded to negative labels based on ethnicity, gender + previous schools
  • However, Mirza (1992) found that ther strategies adopted by ambitious black girls who faced teacher racism did not always succeed
    • racist teachers discouraged black pupils from being ambitious through advice fiven about careers + option choices - often discouraging them from aspiring to professional careers
    • Mirza identified three types of teachers that held racist attitudes:
      • Colour blind teachers: believed all pupils equal but didn't challenge racism
      • Liberal chauvinists: saw black pupils as culturally deprived and held low expectations
      • Overt racists - believe blacks inferior + actively discriminate against them
    • This resulted in the girls spending much of their time avoiding teacher racism - they took on strategies such as being selective about which staff they asked for help, getting on with their own work in lessons without taking part + not choosing certain subjects to avoid teachers w/ racist attitudes
      • although the girls had high self-esteem, these strategies put them at a disadvantage by restricting their opportunities - their strategies were often unsuccessful
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Pupil subcultures - Mirza, Mac an Ghaill + Sewell

  • Sewell views the absence of fathers and the influence of peer group + street culture as explaining the underachievement of black boys  - although he also recognises that their  responses to schooling, including racist stereotypying by teachers, can affect their achievement -- Black boys respond in a variety of ways:
    • The rebels: represent the minority but are the most visible group, they're often excluded from school and rejected both the rules + goals of the school. They expressed their opposition through peer group membership, conforming to the anti-school 'black macho lad' - they were contemptuous of white boys and dismissive of conformist black boys
    • The conformists: the majority - they were keen to succeed and accept the rules + goals of the school and even had friends from different ethnic groups. They were not part of a subculture and were anxious to avoid being stereotyped either by the teachers or their peers
    • The retreatists: a tiny majority of isolated individuals who were disconnected from both school and black subcultures + were despised by the rebels 
    • The innovators: represented the second largest group, pro-education but anti-school. They valued success, but didn't seek approval of teachers + conformed only as far as school work was concerned
    • study shows only a small minority fit the 'black macho lad' stereotype, yet teachers see all black boys this way
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Rejecting negative labels + low self-esteem - Full

  • Fuller (1984) studied a group of black girls in a year 11 London Comprehensive school - the girls were untypical as they were high achievers in a school where most black girls were in lower streams. The girls:
    • channeld their anger about being labelled into the pursuit of educational success
    • didn't seek approval of teachers, many of whom they thought of as racist, and conformed only as far as school work was concerned
    • didn't limit their friends to other academic achievers and stayed friends with other black girls in lower streams
    • worked conscientiously but gave the impression of not doing so and showed a deliberate lack of concern for school routines
    • relied on their own efforts and the impartiality of the external exams
      • Fuller views the girls behaviour as a way of dealing with the contradictory demands of succeeding at school while remaining friends with other black girls in the lower streams and avoiding the ridicule of black boys - many of whom were anti-school
        • they maintained a positive self-image by relying on their own efforts rather than accepting the negative stereotype of them
  • They study highlights 2 important points: that the high achieving black girls succeeded even when they refused to conform + labelling does not always lead to failure
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Institutional racism in schools - Gillbourn

  • Sociologists also argue that there's also institutional racism - where discrimination is built into the system or institution such as the way schools operate
  • Marketisation gives schools more scope to select pupils and therefore allows negative stereotypes to influence decisions about the school
    • The Commission for racial equality (1993) noted that racism in school admissions procedures means that ethnic minority children are more likely to end up in unpopular schools - the report identifies the following reasons:
      • pupil reports from primary schools that stereotype minority pupils
      • racial bias in interviews for school places 
      • lack of info and application forms in minority languages
      • ethnic minority parents are often unaware of how the waiting list system works and the importance of deadlines
    • Additionally, Blair et al shows there is a marked lack of black role models in British schools and a specific lack of head teachers from ethnic minority groups
  • However, Smith + Tomlinson found schools to be tolerant of all ethnic groups, with a lack of antagonism between students from different ethnic groups. OFSTED showed that exclusion for Indian, Bangladeshi + Chinese students is lower than for white students, per thousand people, but in 2015-16 Black Caribbean pupils were over three times more likely to be permantly excluded than the school population as a whole 
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Ethnocentric curriculum

  • Many sociologists see the ethnocentric curriculum as a prime example of institutional racism because it builds a racial bias into the everyday workings of schools and colleges - certain subjects (e.g. history + RE) focus on European Christian peoples history/religion etc. with images of black people being inferior - causing black students to feel low self-worth + esteem
  • Ball (1994) criticises the national curriculum for ignoring ethnic diversity and for promoting an attitude of 'little Englandism'
    • the national curriculum doesn't include the history of black people, and foreign languages taught in schols are primariy European. Where other languages are taught these tend to be extra-curricular
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