Sociology - Education

Looking at the perspectives, role of education, types, social class, hidden curriculum, social polices, gender and minorities.

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  • Created by: Robbie
  • Created on: 07-06-10 19:52


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- FUNCTIONALISTS emphasize importance of schools. EMILE DURKHEIM argues that education prevents ANOMIE (state of chaos resuting from no shared norms or values).

-They also argue that education teaches children ways to interact outside the family. SOCIETY IS BASED ON INSTRUMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS (mutual self interest- shop assistants help customers as their wages are dependent on them) and education teaches children this.

- it also teaches them to value ACHEVIED STATUS rather than that ASCRIBED by the family. (achived= status earnt through perfomence or ability, and ascribed= assiged on the basis of biological or family characteristics)

- Also teaches children UNIVERSALISTIC STANDARDS (a set of rules applied to uniformaly to a whole group) compared to PARTICULARISTIC STANDARDS (set of rules that are specific to an indiviual within a group).

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-MARXISTS and FEMINISTS argue that education acts as an ideological tool- manipulating people to think in certain ways to LEGITIMISE exploitation by the ruling class and inequality.

- For MARXISTS school is just a mock-up of the work place, the teacher becoming the BEOURGIOISE whilst the pupil becomes the PROLETARIAT (or worker).

- This is strengthened through the HIDDEN CURRICULUM which transmits values such as obedience and respect for authority. whilst the offical curriculum shows CAPITALISM as being right and natuaral- and other socail systems as DANGEROUS.

- BOWLES AND GINTIS (1976) argue that school imitates the workplace.

- Feminists also argue that education legitimises inequalities. and gives the illusion that patriachy is reasonable.

- Functionalists argue that education is based on meritocracy, sorting most talented people into most important jobs.

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The Official Curriculum

- Many argue that the official curriculum suffers from cultural biases, and in paticular focuses on middle-class students.

-As a result of this, groups may identify more strongly whereas other may feel like outsiders.

- This is when subcultures are created, but not due to defiance, but because they are marginalised. Research studies into subcultures in schools include Hargreaves (1973) or Valerie Hey (1997) SEWELL(1997)

- These biases can also have an impact on ACHIVEMENT of students.

- this is becaue some are more used to or more fluent in t the 'CULTURE' of the curriculum, wheres others have to 'catch-up' and often many don't.

- In short- the curriculum is one explanation for the underachivement in children.

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The hidden curiculum

- INTERACTIONISTS look at the relationship between students and the hidden curiculum. They argue that subjects are 'packaged' to appeal to certain groups. For instance, there is a gender bias in the types of activites and examples used in subjects.

- Thus making them more appealing to different groups.

- They also look at how teachers treat different social groups, and how this translates to differential treatment.

- Theorists in this perspective emphasize ROLE MODELS in school, and also the segregation of staff. for example, women are over represented in primary school (referring to mother role) and under-represented in management.

- Simerlarily they also ethnic minorities are under represented in all schools, and rarely in management. these tendencies send messages to students.

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Social Class

- The correlation between attainment and social class is clear cut:

- Poorer children do less well than their AFFLUENT counterparts, at every key stage and level of education.

- They are also significantly underestimated in Post-compulsory education (university)

- It is also shown that as children progress through school, the gaps between the two groups widen.

- 77% of children from 'professional' backgrounds attain 5 A*-C grades GCSE (2002)

- only 32% from manual backgrounds achieved this.

- At age 17 82% from professional background were still in post compulsory education. compared to 58% of those from manual backgrounds.

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- When viewng these patterns it is important to note that not all ethnic minorities underachieve

- INDIAN children out perform their white counterparts, as do those of CHINESE heritage.

- However PAKISTANI, BANGLADESHI and BLACK CARBBEANS ethnicities tend to do significantly worse than WHITE counterparts.

- BLACK CARIBBEAN'S are also 3 times more likely to be excluded from school.

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Material Deprivation

- One are of this argument is that POVERTY, or MATERIAL DEPRIVATION is a key influence on attainment. directly and indirectly. - Poorer parents may not be able to buy educational toys, computers or books, or buy into the catchment area of a successful school. - Poverty may lead to cramped housing (no environment for homework), and also in which illness can travel quickly. - Children from poorer backgrounds are also more likely to need part-time jobs- meaning they leave school as early as possible. - Research= HARKER (2006)

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cultural deprivation

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- the SOCIALISATION experience of children is also a further explanation of poverty. The values and norms transmitted in the home. This basically blames BAD PARENTING for failure.

- one area of focus has been the child-raising practices and the impact of family structure DRIVER and BALLARD (1979) argue that high achievement in Asain groups may be due to prescence of close-knit extended family.

- Conversley, PRYCE (1979) highlights a high rate of matriarchal single-parent families in black Carribeans- expelling why they gerally do worse in attainment, but girls do better.

- FATALISTIC view that lower social classes have.

- NEW RIGHT thinkers argue that some ethnic minorities underachieve as they cling to historical roots rather than embrace british culture.

- LINGUISTIC DEPRIVATION is also a major issue in educational success.

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- Sociologists have noted a complicated and changing relationship between gender and achievement

- Historically, boys outperform girls- but, over the past three decades, girls have become higher attainers.

- This rise might be driven by a range of broader social changes- including legal and policy reforms, changing expectations held by parents and teachers and shifting aspirations of girls themselves.

- Some sociologists have tried to label boys as the 'new underachivers'

- They have pointed to many different factors, including decline in traditional 'male' work, how education has become feminised, role models in school, changing expectations of boys and the attitudes of boys themselves.

-Gender bias within subjects.

-Girls aspirations are shaped by early socialisation through toys, e.g. girls have 'dress up' dolls, and boys have action men.

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- FORSTER ACT 1870 - ENSURED all children could access some type of FREE education until the age of ten. It created ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.

- BUTLER ACT 1944 - created the TRIPARTITE SYSTEM made up of 3 different schools catering from different aptitudes:

Grammar School: for more 'academic' students who sit at the prestigious General Certificate of Education (GCE)

Secondary Technical Schools: for those with a talent in mechanical, engineering or scientific areas.

Secondary Modern Schools: for those who are not suited to the two other schools.

- also wanted to increase PARITY OF ESTEEM.

- COMPREHENSIVISATION - many argued that the tripartite system limited the opportunities available to many of the students, and as a result COMPREHENSIVE schools were formed, they aimed to educate all students, regardless of background or aptitude.

- This introduced the CATCHMENT AREA, the aim was to ensure that all children had access to the SAME education.

EDUCATION REFORM ACT 1988- Duruing the thatcher era, it was an attempt to marketise education through league tables so that schools would compete and people would receive better qualities of education. Introduce the NATIONAL CURRICULUM.

EDUCATION POST 1977- labour introduced:

- Specialist schools (originally introduce by conservatives) were expanded

- Faith Schools - religious schools

- Trust Schools

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bushra wrote:


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