Ethnic Differences in School

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Asses the view that process in schools themselves are mainly responsible for ethnic differences The education system is centrals around achievement, however it has been said that there exists differences between attainment across various ethnicities. Sociologists are unlikely to use the word race as it is unreliable which is why ethnicity is more likely to be used. The general definition used comes from Lawson & Garrod ‘People who share common history, customs and identity, as well as, in most cases, language and religion and who see themselves as a distinct unit. Ethnic differences in achievement therefore may mainly come from the process in schools themselves. Fundamentally, one factor which contributes to the ethnic differences within the school place is due to the labeling theory. This is when a particular definition is attached to a student such as ‘smart’ or ‘stupid’ this often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy as the student begins to believe the label they have been branded as and therefore begins to act upon it. Some sociologists have focused on how black pupils are labeled negatively which has a direct impact on their education. Gillborn & Youdell (2000) found that black pupils were more likely to receive discipline from their teacher although fellow classmates may have been acting in a similar way. This leads to further problems as conflict begins to emerge between teachers and pupils as black pupils are seen as anti-authority due to the misinterpretation of behaviour black boys especially, are labelled negatively leading exclusions which affect their educational attainment as missing lessons means that their knowledge is being limited. Bourne (1994) & Foster (1990) also states that there are therefore more likely to be placed in lower sets or streams which will again have an influence in their achievements as students from lower sets are
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