Outline the Ways in Which Factors in Children’s Home Background May Lead to Differences in Achievement Levels Between Ethnic Groups?

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Many sociologists argue that ethnic differences in achievement can best be explained by looking at factors outside the school- in the home, family and culture of the child and the impact of wider society. The main explanations of this kind are: cultural deprivation, material deprivation and class, racism in wider society. Cultural deprivation theory sees the under achievement of some ethnic groups as the result of inadequate socialisation in the home. The explanation has three main aspects: intellectual and linguistic skills, attitudes and values and family structure. Cultural deprivation theorists see the lack of intellectual and linguistic skills as a major cause of underachievement for many minority children. They argue that many children from low-income black families lack intellectual stimulation and enriching experiences. This leaves them poorly equipped for school because they have not been able to develop reasoning and problem-solving skills. Another concern is that children who do not speak English at home may be held back educationally. However, the Swan Report 1985 found that language was not a major factor in underachievement, while David Gilborn notes than Indian pupils do very well despite often not having English as their home language. Cultural deprivation theorists see lack of motivation as a major cause of the failure of many black children. Most other children are socialised into the mainstream culture, which instils ambition, competitiveness and willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve long-term goals. By contrast, they argue that some black children are socialised into a subculture that instils a fatalistic, ‘live for today’ attitude that does not value education and leaves them unequipped for success. Charles Murray 1984 argues that a high rate of lone parenthood and a lack of positive male role models lead to the
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