Outline some of the ways in which cultural deprivation may lead to the educational underachievement of working class pupils (12 marks) Cultural deprivation is the idea that the culture of low income groups is deprived or deficient in certain aspects which accounts for low educational achievement. Educational underachievement is when pupils fail to reach their full potential and meet their aspired grades. This essay will outline some of the ways in which cultural deprivation can lead to the educational underachievement of working class pupils. One way in which cultural deprivation may lead to educational underachievement is due to the lack of intellectual stimulation that working class parents have on their children. It has been found that working class parents are less likely to give their children educational toys or read to them.
Some sociologists believe that cultural factors are the most important cause of social differences in educational achievement, but this is not the only factor that causes a difference, Material Depravation can affect educational achievement in other ways. There are three main factors of Cultural Deprivation: Intellectual development, Language and Attitudes and Values. Sociologists such as JWB Douglas (1964) and Herbert Hyman (1967) believe that cultural deprivation factors are the most important cause for social class difference in educational achievement. Douglas found that working-class pupils scored on average, lower than those from a middle-class background. He argues that this is due to working-class parents being less likely to support and encourage their child’s intellectual development at home, therefore they are intellectually deprived compared to the middle-class pupils they are at school with.
Asses the View That Culture Deprivation Is the Main Cause of underachievement amongst working class students. It may be argued that due to lack of family structure and social, a child is more likely to underachieve. There are many cultural deficiencies often associated with a child's potential and achievement. Cultural deprivation is a theory that many working-class children are inadequately socialised and therefore lack the "right" culture appropriate for a successful education. Working class children are less likely to succeed because they are less likely to be found in nursery schools, less likely to go to university and more likely to be poor readers when they start school, more likely to be in lower sets and streams in secondary school, more likely to leave school early, more likely to underachieve at GCSEs and a level, more likely to be excluded and suspended .This is because the middle-class culture children are adequately prepared for school, but it's totally reverse for working-class culture, it basically fails to prepare children adequately for educational success.
In working class families, they lack educational books, toys and activities for their children. Thus, children from working class backgrounds start school without having an intellectual background, which ends up affecting their progress. For example, a sociologist named Douglas found that children from working class backgrounds scored lower on their tests. This is because working class parents are less likely to motivate and support their children by reading with them because they don’t have enough time unlike middle class parents who do. The second feature of cultural deprivation is language.
(d) In school factors can have a big impact on the social class differences in education achievement. However, it isn’t the only factor. In school factors include labelling; this is done by both students and teachers. Pupils will be labelled based on social class; a working class child is more likely to be labelled as degrading names. This labelling can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy; this disadvantages them because the teacher is favouring other students.
Evaluate the claim that the main reason why working-class children underachieve in education is their poverty. (20 Marks) It can be strongly argued that the claim for working-class children underachieving is due to their poverty, some reason for and against this are written below. One of the reasons for which enforces the statement above is the internal part, for example an internal factor of working-class (W.C) underachieving in school is the theory of labelling. The labelling theory is a theory that suggests teachers, mostly middle-class, are generally known for labelling their students. If a W.C student is labelled by a middle-class (M.C) teacher the student often believe that the teacher is right therefore they take that label they have been given and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy which means they accept the label they have been given and stay that standard, this is basically saying if a student is labelled negatively they stay negative because they are ‘fulfilling their own prophecy’ so they are now going to underachieve in education.
Social class differences in pupils’ home background plays a key role in causing differences in educational achievement. The material factor with the most impact on differences in achievement is poverty, such as adequate housing, diet and income. It causes children to achieve badly academically and mostly affects the working class. Poverty can cause working class underachievement in that a poor living environment could consist of overcrowding, and so pupils don’t have a quiet place to study and work efficiently. Also, the lack of a balanced diet can lead to absences from school and can cause them to loose concentration in class due to hunger.
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.
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.
There are social class, gender and ethnic differences in how pupils succeed in education. There has been debate about the reason for these differences. I will assess the views that factors and processes within schools is the main reason for the differences. A self fulfilling prophecy would cause achievement differences between the two social classes, as teachers would label middle class children as smart, will do well etc and working class kids as unruly, lazy etc. then the teacher treats the pupil accordingly eg gives them more attention and work, ignores them.