Ethnicity and Education

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  • Created by: J.E.C.
  • Created on: 27-04-14 14:14

Explanations for differential achievement

> External : material deprivation / class > racism in wider society > Cultural deprivation

> Internal: Labelling > ethnocentric curriculum > subcultures > selection & segregation

> Parental education: roughly 83% of Bangladeshi parents have no formal qualifications whereas only 16% of british parents have no qualifications.

> First 4 years of secondary education: Indian pupils do significantly better (homework levels) whereas A-C achieve much less.

> Inner cities: White british WC making least progress over secondary phase

> Females tend to perform better in all ethnic groups

> Minority ethnic groups have a higher proportion of members from WC backgrounds > Over 2/3 of Pakistani and Bangladeshi students entering HE are from households headed by manual workers

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Facts & Figures

Indian, Chinese, African & Asian: strong emphasis on self-improvement through education > come from professional backgrounds > Their culture is perceived positively by teachers

Black pupils: more likely to be excluded > disproportionately represented in bottom sets due to behvaiour rather than ability > less likely to be identified as G&T > 1.5 times more likely to be identified as having behaviour-related special needs.

African-Caribbean boys labelled as 'unruly', 'disrespectful' and 'difficult to control' & more likely to be given detentions than any other students (Gilbourn).

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Case Studies

GilbournTeachers misinterpret dress and manner as a challenge to their authority. Students see this as unfair so respond according to that label.

Sewell - teachers are fearful of black boys

Jasper - White, female teachers offer less conductive style of learning according to their expectations.

Cord - Black culture, music and art is ignored. Only learn negatives. = low self-esteem. Christian assemblies. 

Tikley et al - A-C pupils felt invisible. Felt discriminated against but maintained positive self image.

Hallam et al - streaming polarises pro and anti school attitudes. Most students found to want to move set or go mixed ability.

A-C pupils underrepresented in top sets. Pupils very aware of set - demoralised - lower motivation

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Case Studies

Bhatti - Bangladeshi and Pakistani students victim to teachers racist behaviour - ignored - not helped - not believing them when they complained about behaviour of white students. Felt teachers had low expectations of them - seemed 'invisible' and their achievements, culture and festivals were unmarked. Teachers made little effort to pronounce names properly.

Reay and Mirza - Supplementary schools teach basic skills and black history and culture. Create black space where black culture is valued > provide a sense of identity and belonging.


> Make state schools more more equal

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