January 2012 Unit 2 Past Paper- answer suggestions- Education Q1-4

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1) Meritocracy refers to everyone in the education system having equal opportunity to achieve highly, with status achieved rather than ascribed.

2) Factors that may lead to an ethnic group's underachievement may include:

  • Poor housing conditions, e.g. living in overcrowded conditions, making it difficult for them to concentrate on schoolwork 
  • Taking up unskilled/ semi-skilled jobs to overcome financial problems, which distracts them from schoolwork
  • Not properly developing intellectual skills, e.g. low-income black children are poorly equipped for school, the language spoken by Black American is families is inadequate and ungrammatical
  • Ethnic minority pupils may lack Standard English, which is valued by the education system
  • Black children are socialised into a fatalistic, live-for-today attitude which leaves them unmotivated to progress in education
  • Roger Scruton- failure may be due to not fully embracing the mainstream culture
  • Asian families are stress-ridden, tradition-bound and controlling, so parents may not support their child's education if they are dealing with stress or don't like their child's nontraditional direction
  • Charles Murray- in black lone-parent families, boys may fail due to a lack of a male role-model for motivation
  • The Black-Carribean subcultures are less resistant to racism and have low self-esteem, as colonisation culturally damaged them
  • Etc...

3) 'Outline some of the reasons for gender differences in subject choice.'

Intro: explain that these gender differences exist. E.g. mention that there are perceived gender domains, and girls in D.T. may choose Cooking whereas boys choose Graphics and Resistant Materials, or mention that in A levels, boys choose maths and physics, whereas girls choose English and Sociology. Also that 1/100 construction apprentices are girls


#Peer pressure-

  • Carrie Paetcher- pupils see sport as in the male gender domain, so girls are more likely to opt out. Alison Dewar- in an American College, girls interested in sports were called lesbian/butch

-Many programs seek to encourage girls to do sports, e.g. the Womens Sports Foundation, and many sports are seen as more feminine, e.g. volleyball, dance, in-line skating

#Early socialisation

  • Patricia Murphy and Jannette Elwood- boys read hobby books and informative text (a la Science), while girls read stories about people (a la English Literature)
  • Ann Oakley- gender role socialisation- learning gender behaviours in society
  • Patricia Murphy-tasks are interpreted differently. On designing vehicles and a house promotion, younger girls focused on feelings (leading to studying humanities and arts), whereas boys looked at how things operated (leading to sciences)
  • Fiona Norman- from young, the genders are given different clothes, toys and activities. Parents reward active boys (a la P.E.) and passive girls (as valued in English, Modern Languages etc., where one has to listen to what is being said)
  • Eileen Byrne- teachers encourage tough boys with initiative (a la leaders in P.E. or Science), and quiet, helpful, tidy girls (a la English and Modern Languages where notebooks should be kept neat, and Food and Nutrition where the workplace should be neat)
  • Naima Browne and Carol Ross- kids are more


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