Explaining Class Differences

433 Words2 Pages
Explainining class differences in achievement Cultural deprivation theory blames the failings of the child on his/her background. This diverts the attention from the educational system which may contribute to, or account for, class differences in attainment. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that many working-class homes lack the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a child’s intellectual development. Bernstein and Young (1967) found that the way mothers think about and choose toys has an influence on their child’s intellectual development. Middle-class mothers are more likely to have more of an interest in their child’s intellectual development. Bernstein identified two forms of speech pattern, the restricted code and elaborated code. According to Bernstein, most middle-class children have been socialised into both the restricted code and the elaborated code, working-class pupils are placed at a distinct disadvantage. They are less likely to understand what teachers say and are more likely to be misunderstood and criticised for what they themselves say. Bernstein’s early work comes close with being a ‘cultural deficit’ model. Although Bernstein is sometimes accused of claims he never actually made, his early writings do seem to make a negative judgement on the ‘restricted code’. Murray from the New Right perspective has more recently pursued the theme of the development of an underclass culture. The poorest stratum in society have a distinct set of values which stem from high rates of illegitimacy, single parenthood, welfare dependency, poor socialisation of children. This cultural deprivation which Murray controversially links to lower IQ levels, is seen as creating a group of pupils who are fundamentally alienated from the education system. Cultural deprivation has been widely criticised as an explanation of class differences in
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