Topic 2

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Topic 2- School organization & School processes:

  • Research has suggested: How well students perform in school and particular social patterns of underachievement are affected by school processes and organization and the teaching and learning context 
  • The Interactionist Perspective: Tend to use micro detailed studies of what actually happens in within schools, by using qualitative research methods, interactionists seek to discover how teachers/ pupils experiance and come to interpret and define situations- Shown through issues like stereotyping and labelling
  • School Ethos: Refers to the character, atmosphere or "climate" of a school- All pupils are valued, rewarded, praised and encouraged to fufil their potential, whatever abilities they may have, emphasis on equal oppertunities with intolerance of racism and sexism, emphasis on social/ moral and spiritual development of students
  • The Hidden Curriculum: Ethos of school is reflected in and supported by the hidden curriculum. Students learn attitudes and values reflected in the school ethod simply through participating in the daily routines of school life. Things underpinning the ethos: Punctuality, respect for the authority and school rules- All seek to instill certain values. For many parents a good school: One that which has a high quality of teaching and an ethos promoting high achievement
  • Do school make a difference? Rutter et.al: Good schools can make a difference to life chance of all pupils- There is features of the school's organization which makes the difference
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Topic 2- Teacher stereotyping & pupil identities

  • Teacher- student interaction and the standpoint teachers: Can adopt in their dealings with pupils, can influence their construction- Can develop a positive or negative pupil identities
  • Teachers are actively judging, interpreting their behaviour and forming impressions of pupils- Process is called labeling: Defining a person/ group  in a certain way- Shown to affect the educational performance and classroom behaviour
  • The stereotype (Generalized view of the features of a social group) held by the teachers can produce a halo effect ( When pupils become stereotyped either favourably or unfavourably

-Waterhouse: Teachers categorise pupils into normal/ average or devaint types- This has implications for the way the teachers interact with pupils:

Teachers uses "labell" to define all future pupil behaviour, it becomes the the pupils "pivotal identity". Teachers interpret and reinterpret classroom events and student behaviour-This construction may lead to a self-fufilling prophecy (People acting in a responce to predictions which have been made regarding their behaviour) Pupil's behaviour is influenced by the way teachers react to them

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Topic 2- "Ideal pupil" & Pupil identities

-Becker: First discovered that teachers intially evaluate pupils in relation to their stereotypes of the "ideal pupil"

-Hemphel- Jorgensen: Year-long research on 12 Primary schools, using O, conversation with children & SSI with teachers- Pupils themselves share similar conception of "ideal learner". This influences how they view themselves as learners, identity arises out of the daily teacher-pupil & pupil-pupil interactions in the schooling process

-Becker: "Ideal pupil" has become a significant reference point for teachers 

-Hemphel-Jorgensen: Whole range of non- academic factors such as; speech dress, personality, conformity to discipline can influence teachers' assesements of students ability

-Becker: Social class of students and the extent to which they conformed to the middle-class standards of teaching were the most significanat factors influencing teacher labelling

-Harvey and Slatin: Showed photographs of children from different ethnic,social class backgrounds to a sample of 96 Primary school teachers. They found: White middle-clas children were identified as more likel to be successful.

-Gillborn: The "ideal pupil" stereotype held by the teachers favours who are white, Teachers simply do not see black children as likely to academic succes, teachers denying oppertunities to black children

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Topic 2- Labeling & The Self-fulfilling prophecy:

  • The way teachers assess and evaluate students affect pupil identities- Pupils gradually bring their own self-image in line with the one that the teacher holds of them
  • Progress students make in school- Created by the processes of stereotyping and labelling

-Rosenthal and Jacobson: Provided useful evidence of the self-fufilling prophecy- Randomly chosen group pf students whom teachers were told were bright, even though they were no different from other students, in terms of ability, did in fact make greater progress that students who were not lablled

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy is likely to have the most effects on working class and black boys

-Hartley and Sutton: SFP- Could be applied to gender with labelling stereotypes and the expectations of teachers, the media generating a SFP with negative effects on the performance of boys:

-Children assigned in 2 groups, first group told that boys do not perform as well as girls and other told not this- Then they were tested. Boys in first group performed significantly worse than those in second, while overall girls' performance was similar in both groups

-Evaluation: Boy's relatively poor performance nationally could be explained in part by negaative gender stereotypes, generating a SFP

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Topic 2- Banding, streaming and setting:

  •  What? Ways of grouping students according to their actual or predicted ability
  • Banding:Try to ensure their intakes have a spread of pupils drawn from all bands of ability
  • Streaming: Where all students are divided into groups of similar ability in which they stay for all subjects
  • Setting: Is where school students are divided into groups of the same ability in particular subjects

-Ball's Research: Top stream students were "warmed up" by encouragement to achieve highly and to a follow academic courses to study, BUT: Lower-streams students were "cooled out" and encouraged too follow lower status vocational and partical courses

-Smyth et al: Students in lower stream classes have more negative attitudes, more likely to disengage. Such evidence suggests streaming: Has harmful effects on the learner identities, damages self confidence, and has a negative impact on their educational aspirations

-Research conducted for the Sutton Trust: Whilst setting as a good way of stetching bright pupils from poor backgrounds not enough of them were reaching top sets. Streaming puts poorer pupils at disadvantage, favoured those from middle class. Streaming contributes to the underachievement of working class pupils.Consquence of Streaming and setting: Keddie:Lower working class pupils underachieve in education, not given access to knowledge required for success

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Topic 2- Educational Triage:

  • Educational Triage: Refers to the way schools divide pupils into 3 groups- Those who are likely to succed in exams whatever happens, those who have a chance of succeeding if they get some extra help, and those who have little chance of succeeding whatever is done

-Gillborn and Youdell: Schools focus their attention on the first 2 groups, as this will improve their position in the league table and the give the impression of a good and successful school. The third group are basically written off as no-hopers and left to die an educational death

  • Renewed emphasis on school improvments- Likely to intensify the process of educational triage, More attention and school resources onto those who stand at least a chance of reaching 5 GCSE's 
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Topic 2: School subcultures:

  • Pupil subculture: Groups of students who share same values, norms and behaviours, which give them sense of group identity and belonging and provide peer-group status during the schooling process (Pro-school to Anti-school subculture)
  • Differentiation and Polarization: Lacy: Most schools generally place a high value on things (hard work), teachers judge students and rank and categorize them into different goups-Differentiation, One of the consequences of differentiation through streaming and labelling is Polarization- This refers to the way students become divided into 2 opposing groups or "poles", Those who ahieve highly and those in the bottom streams

-Hargreaves: Using setting found that teachers perceptions of students academic ability and the processes of differentiation and polarization influenced how students behaved- Led to the formation of pro-school and anti-school subcultures (Important effect on their chances of educational failure/ success)

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Topic 2- Pro-school & Anti-school subcultures:

  • The Pro-school subculture: Group organized around a set of values, attitudes and behaviour which generally conform to the academic aims, ethos and rules of a school
  • The "Lads" in Willis' study: Called the conformists groups, the "ear" oles
  • Sewell: Found PSS among some of black pupils (the conformists) who sought to achieve academic success and to avoid racists and labelling by conforming to school values
  • Belonging to a PSS- Likely to encourage peer-group support in education
  • The Anti-school subculture: Consists of groups of pupils who rebel against the school for various reasons and develop an alternative anti-school identity, made up of a set of a delinquent values,attitudes and behaviour
  • In this subculture: Disrupting the smooth running of school, become way of getting back at system, resisiting a schooling which denied student status, by labeling them as failures-Subculture resistance:Provides a means for pupils to improve self-esteem, by giving them status in the eyes of peer group. 
  • Typical of ASS found in Willis- Among the working class "lads", opposed to main aims of school and sought to free themselves from what they saw as oppressive schooling by "having a laff"- Main purpose of school day
  • Jacksons: Girls increasingly becoming part of anti-subculture, they adopt "laddete" behaviour, "uncool to work" approach.BUT: Girls still try to achieve academic success, working clandestinely by hiding work at same time adopting ladette behaviour
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Topic 2-Evaluation:

  • Between Pro-and- Anti school subculture: 
  • Woods: Dividing the responces of pupils to the experiance of schooling into 2 "poles" of conformity or opposition is too simple. Argued- There is a wide variety of possible responces to school, each will influence wha students achieve in school, students may change their responces over time. (Retreatism-Not actually opposed to school values, but indifferent to them)
  • Evaluation: They recognise the importance of what happens inside schools, They are too deterministic- Labelling is an ongoing process, Fuller: Although most black girls were subject to negative labeling and stereotyping, some of them consciously chose to reject such labeling to prove teachers wrong by achieving educational success, whilst still seeming not to conform to the ethos= Showing that negative labeling doesn't always lead to failure. They do not pay enough attention to the distribution of power in society- Things that happen outside of school that affects what happens in schooling process
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