Internal Factors of Ethnicity and Attainment

298 Words2 Pages
When looking at ethnic differences in achievement, sociologists often focus on the labels teachers give to children from different ethnic backgrounds. Their studies show that teachers often see Asian and black pupils as being far from the “perfect pupil.” Instead, they often label black children as disruptive and Asian children as passive. Negative labels may lead teachers to treat ethnic minority pupils differently, which often disadvantages them and results in failure in education. David Gilborn (1990) found teachers were quick to discipline black students, seeing them as a threat to their authority and safety. Teachers often misinterpreted their behaviour as threatening when no threat was intended. When teachers acted upon this, pupils responded negatively and further conflict resulted. Gilborn concluded that much of the conflict between white teachers and black pupils stems from racial stereotypes teachers hold rather than the pupils’ actual behaviour. Teachers were less likely to see pupils from other ethnic backgrounds as a threat or to punish them, even if they behaved in the same way as the black pupils. The term ethnocentric describes an attitude or policy that gives priority to the culture of one particular ethnic group while disregarding others. Troyna & Williams (1986) describe British schools as ethnocentric they give priority to white culture and the English language. Ball (1994) criticises the National Curriculum for ignoring cultural and ethnic diversity and for promoting ‘little Englandism’. For example, History tries to ‘recreate a mythical age of empire and past glories’ and ignore the history of black and Asian people. Coard (2005) believes the ethnocentric curriculum can explain ethnic minority underachievement, since in History, slavery is glossed over and the British are presented as brining civilisation to
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