Studies: Why ethnic minorities are underachieving

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Found that teachers percieved and treated ethnic minority children differently from whie children.

  • Asian children seen as a problem but ignored and recieved least attention and were excluded from classroom discussions


  • Teachers also found that Asian pupils were more diciplined and highly motivated
  • African Carribean boys were expected to behave badly and the attention recieved was mostly negative.
  • Their behaviour was seen as aggressive, disobedient and disruptive. 
  • Mostly singled out for critisism 
  • Actions done by this ethnic minority was ignored in other children
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  • Did 2 years of observation and interviews
  • Teachers saw actions of African Carribean pupils as a threat to them when none intended 
  • More likely to be critisised 
  • Punnishment causes tension 
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Mac & Ghaill (1988)

  • Boys demoted to bottom sets for what was seen as bad behaviour and having an attitude
  • Reacted by resisting discrimination by forming an anti-school subculture called 'Rastaheads' 
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Bhattie (1999)

  • Followed 50 working class Banglideshi/Pakistani teenagers who initially spoike poor English- Boys and girls reported;
  • Racist behaviour by teachers e.g. ignoring them in class 
  • Not believing them when complaining about white pupil racism 
  • Felt teachers have a low expectation of them 
  • Felt invisible and didnt try to pronounce names properly 
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