Sociology Education ETHNICITY

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  • Created on: 01-11-22 11:32
Largely a social construction - not looking at biological differences between groups, but social differences relating to differences in socialisation and culture
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Significant differences between ethnic groups.
20% more students from chinese backgrounds gaining 5 A*-c grades from GCSE, than students from black Caribbean backgrounds.
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Differences continued
Students with indian heritage do better than those with bangladesh or pakistan heritage
Gender differences too - in all ethicities apart from gypsy/Roma students, girls do better than boys.
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Middle class pupils do better than working class in all ethnicities
White pupils achievement in general is close to the national average, though, white working class pupils, mainly boys, are one of the lowest achieving groups.
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Intellectual and linguistic skills
With intellectual and linguistic skills, many children from low-income black families lack these skills. Lacking enriching + problem solving skills.
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Evidence of ^
Bereiter and Engelmann found language from low income families, mainly black, is inadequate to educational success. Ungrammatical, disjointed and incapable of expressing certain ideas
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Criticisms/AO3 evaluation
Official statistics show that no English at home isnt necessarily a major factor. In 2010, pupils with English as their first language, where only 3.2 points ahead of English as a second. 52% - 55.2% when it comes to passing GCSEs (five passes)
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Attitudes and values
Lack of motivation is a major concern for black children. Most children are socialised into the mainstream culture. This instils ambition, competitiveness and willingness to make sacrifices for long-stream goals.
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Attitudes and values continued
Theorists believe that black children are socialised into fatalistic subculture, and this does not value the education system.
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Criticisms/AO3 evaluation
Black children are not at fault for being socialised into certain subcultures.
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Family structure and parental support - Moynihan (1965)
He believes that black families are headed by long parents, mainly women. The children are deprived of the care they need, as the mother may struggle with the lack of a breadwinner.
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Vicious cycle?
There is a vicious cycle of children from unstable families going on to fail at school, becoming inadequate families themselves.
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Asian families (Sewell)
Sewell thinks that Indian + Chinese pupils benefit from the 'supportive' 'asian' work ethic. High value on education.
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Asian families (Lupton, 2004)
Lupton thinks that adult authority is similar to what operates in schools, Respectful behaviour is expected from children. A knock on effect with school - parents are more than likely to support school behaviour policies.
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White working class families (McCulloch)
These pupils often underachieve and have lower aspirations. McCulloch found that ethnic minority pupils were more likely to aspire to go to uni than white british pupils. Could be from lack of parental support.
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White working class families (Lupton)
Found that teachers reported lower levels of behaviour and discipline in the white working class schools despite having less pupils on free school meals.
Teacher = blamed this on WWC parents' view of education. Ethnic minority see ED as a 'way up'.
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Drive believes culture deprivation theory ignores the positive effects of ethnicity on achievement. Showed that black Caribbean families provide girls with positive rolemodels of strong, independent women.
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Criticisms continued (Drive + Lawrence)
Drive believed that this is why black girls tend to be more successful in education than Boys.
Lawrence criticised the the view that black pupils fail because their culture is weak as they lack self-esteem. Black pupils underachieve due to racism.
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Culture deprivation is believed to be victim blaming. She argued that ethnic minority children are culturally different not culturally deprived. They underachieve due to ethnocentric schools - biased in favour of white culture and against minorities.
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Criticisms continued again
Compensatory education is a way to impose the dominant white culture on children who already have a coherent culture of their own. Instead, critics suggest two alternatives.
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The two alternatives:
1. Multicultural education recognises and values minority cultures and includes them in the curriculum.
2. Anti-racist education: policy that challenged the prejudice and discrimination that exist in schools and wider society
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4 ways which material deprivation can cause a disadvantage in education
1. Poor housing - overcrowding makes it hard to study. Poor housing can cause health problems.
2. Poor diet - not getting correct nutrients and minerals, weakens immune system
3. Poor quality local schools - cannot afford tuition.
4. University - fear of
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- Almost half of all ethnic minority children live in low income households - compared to a quarter of white children.
- ethnic minorities are twice as likely to be unemployed
- Ethnic minorities - 3 times more likely to be homeless
- Half of bangladeshi
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Why are people form ethnic minority groups more likely to be in poverty?
- Ethnic minority people are more likely to live in economically depressed areas with high employment and low wage
- Recent arrivals can face language barriers
- Racial discrimination in the labour market and housing market.
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AO3 evaluation
MD is useful for explaining why some asian ethnic groups do better than others. Indian pupils are one of the best performing ethnic groups.
Need to take into account social class and material deprivation when explaining ethnic differences in achievement.
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AO3 continued
Class does not completely override the influence of ethnicity. Indian and chinese pupils that are MD still do better than most.
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Racism in wider society
Racism is inherent/built in, in British Society. Explanations from sociologists look at the lack of ethnic minorities in the power structures of society. Example: politics, business and the legal system, ethnic minorities are underrepresented.
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How does material deprivation link?
Discrimination can mean that ethnic minorities are more likely to be forced into substandard housing.
2017 - "no coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy" - Britains largest buy-to-let landlords.
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Discrimination of the job market
Many repeated studies have found that when comparable, CVs are sent out with names suggesting a white British person and names suggesting ethnic minorities, the 'white' applications lead to more interviews. Contributes to unemployment rates and lower paid
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How can racism in wider society have an impact on student's performance and motivation?
Rex (1986) racism + discrimination can lead to social exclusion and this worsens poverty faced by ethnic minorities. With housing - discrimination = minorities forced into substandard accommodation, rather than whites.
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AO3 analysis
Racism in wider society also links to factors inside the school. Teachers will have been socialised in this society and may have unconsciously absorbed racist ideas that affect how they interact with different ethnic groups.
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Internal factors - labelling, indentities and responses
Even though black people can be highest achieving pupils on entry to primary school, they often fall behind when starting school.
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Gillborn and Youdell (2000)
They had looked at a local educational authority, where black pupils started at highest achievers going into primary (20% above local average) but ended up the lowest and GCSEs (21% below)
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What does this challenge?
The cultural deprivation theorists view that black children are poorly prepared for school. It suggests that the process within school may be producing educational underachievement
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Labelling and teacher racism: interactionists focus
These focus on different labels teachers give to pupils from various backgrounds. Their studies show that the minorities are often labelled as less than the 'ideal' pupil. Black students = disruptive, Asian pupils = overly passive.
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Gillborn and Youdell: Black pupils and discipline
Teachers were quicker to discipline black pupils than others for the same behaviour. Teachers 'racialised expectations' - expecting black pupils to present more discipline problems. Misinterpreted behaviour as a challenge.
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^ continued
When teachers acted on this misinterpretation, the pupils responded negatively and further conflict occured. Black pupils felt that teachers undermined their ability and picked on them. These sociologists concluded - the conflicts stems from racial stereo
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Wright: Asian pupils and labelling
These had studied multi-ethnic primary schools. Despite schools drive for equal opportunities, teachers held ethnocentric views; took for granted British culture and standard English was superior.
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^ continued
Affected how they'd relate to Asian pupils. Ex: teachers assumed a poor grasp at English and left them out of class discussions. Or used childish, simple language. These pupils felt isolated when their customs was disapproved and names mispronounced.
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^ continued again
These pupils weren't seen as a threat (like black pupils) but were ignored like they were a problem. Asians, especially girls, were marginalised- pushed to the edges and prevented from participating.
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Archer: Pupil identities
A teachers dominant discourse defines ethnic minority pupils' identities as lacking the favoured identity of the ideal pupil. Three main identities: ideal pupil, the pathologised pupil and demonised pupil.
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Pupils responses and subcultures
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Evidence of rejceting negative labels: Fuller and Mac an Ghaill
Fuller - studied a group of black girls in year 11 from a london comprehensive school. They were untypical as they were high achievers, where black girls were placed in lower streams. Instead of accepting stereotypes, they channeled their anger into the p
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^ continued
Unlike other successful pupils, they did not seek approval. Many of whom they regarded as racist. Neither did they limit their choice of friends to other academic achievers. They were friends with other black girls from lower streams.
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^ continued again
Unlike other successful pupils, they conformed only as far as the schoolwork itself.
Worked conscientiously, but gave the appearance of not doing so. Showed a deliberate lack of concern about school routines. Positive attitudes to academic success.
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Mirza: Failed strategies for avoiding racism
Teachers had discouraged students through racism when mentioning careers or option choices. They did not help aspire with higher careers.
Color-blind teachers - all students are equal but racism is not challenged.
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^ continued
Liberal chauvinists say that teachers believe black students are culturally deprived, given low expectations.
Overt racism is where teachers are openly racist. Girls time is used to avoid negative attitudes, selective with teachers, getting on with own w
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Sewell: different boys' responses
Rebels = most visible + influential. Rejected goals + rules. 'anti-authority' + 'anti-school'. 'black macho lads'
Conformists = keen to succeed. Accepts goals + no subculture
Retreatists = Isolated + disconnected from school. Black sub.
Innovators = pro-e
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only a small minority fit the black stereotype, but teachers see this as most black students, which contributes to underachievement.
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AO3 of internal factors
These studies into teacher labelling = useful. Shows that pupils home backgrounds alone are not responsible for the ethnic differences in education that they endure. Schools + teachers have responsibility for this too.
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Critical race theorists would argue we should not see this as individual racism on the part of a few teachers, but institutional racism in the way the whole system operates.
Studies like fullers = useful in showing that pupils can resist racist labels and
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Institutional racism
Or systematic racism, is a form of racism embedded in the laws and regulations of a society/organisation. Discrimination occurs in the criminal justice, employment, housing, healthcare, education and political representation
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Ethnocentric curriculum
An attitude or policy that gives priority to the culture and viewpoint of one particular ethnic group.
Reflects culture of dominant culture.
Builds racial bias into school.
Ex: Students studying British history. with out of date textbooks that can raciall
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Troyna and Williams (1968)
These argue that differences in achievement is to be understood through going 'beyond' individual teacher racism and look at institutional racism: discrimination which is built into the way institutions such as schools and colleges operate.
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Critical race theory
Racism is an ingrained feature of society. It involves not just the intentional actions of people, but institutional racism which is less overt and identifiable than individual racism.`
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Locked-in inequality
Critical race theorists argue - institutional racism is now established into society so much that there is no need for conscious racism. The inequality between races is already self-sustaining.
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^ continued, Gillborn
He says that locked-in inequality is true of the education system as he sees that ethnic inequality is 'deep-rooted' and 'practically inevitable'.
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Marketisation and segregation
Gillborn found that marketisation allows negative stereotypes to influence choice on school admissions.
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Moore and Davenport (1990) on marketisation and segregation
These found that selection procedures = ethnic segregation with minorities failing to get into 'better' secondary schools.
Procedures favor white pupils which disadvantages those from ethnic backgrounds.
Its an ethically stratified education system.
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Commission from Race Equality Reports
- reports from primary schools - stereotypes occur
- racial bias in interviews
- lack of information + application forms (minority languages)
- ethnic parents unaware of how waiting lists work and deadlines not met
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Access to opportunities
The gifted + talented program meets the needs of more able pupils. It really only benefits 'bright' minority pupils. Whites are more likely to be seen as gifted than black Caribbeans.
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Card 2


Significant differences between ethnic groups.


20% more students from chinese backgrounds gaining 5 A*-c grades from GCSE, than students from black Caribbean backgrounds.

Card 3


Differences continued


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Card 4




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Card 5


Intellectual and linguistic skills


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