Sociology unit 2: Education
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what are the functionalist views on education?
- 1. Education teaches the necessary skills needed for work by the economy.
- 2. Education sorts people into appropriate jobs, this is know as the allocation function.
- 3. Education acts as secondary socialisation, passing on norms and values.
Durkheim's view on education.
Education passes on norms and values in order to integrate individuals into society. Education also creates social order based on value consensus.
Parsons' view on education.
Schools pass on a universal value of achievement. Education puts people into appropriate job roles because education is meritocratic, meaning everyone has an equal chance to be the best they can, the best students rise to the top.
Davis and Moore's view on education.
Every society sorts its members into different positions, there are rules of how education does this, this is know as the "principle of stratisfaction". There are rewards in society that motivate people in life, such as money, status etc.
What is the Marxist view on education?
- 1. Education justifies iequality
- 2. Education prepares children for the world of work by giving them skills and values.
- 3. Education passes on ruling class ideology that supports capitalism.
Althusser's view on education.
Education is a part of the "ideological state apparatus", a tool that is usd by capitalism that makes poeple believe that society is fair. Education produces a docile and obedient workforce.
Bowles and Gintis' view on educaion?
There is a link between school and work, there is a correspondence between pupil experience of school and adult work. Meritocracy is a myth used to blame people for not succeeding.
Bourdieu's view on education.
The middle class get into top positions in institutions because of cultural capital (language, skills, knowledge and attitudes).
Illich's radical view on education.
agrees with functionalists, but thinks the functions aren't good enough, so we shold giv up on school as it's a bad idea.
- 1. Education looks after children during the day.
- 2. Education sorts pupils into job roles.
- 3. Education passes on dominant values.
- 4. Education helps people learn skills and knowledge.
Feminist view on education.
Liberal feminists - demand equal access to education for both sexes.
Radical feminists - believe men are a bad influence, and want female-centred education for girls.
Marxist feminists - want to consider gender inequalities with inequalities of class and ethnicity.
Criticisms of Functionalists.
- 1. Evidence of differential achievement in terms of class, gender and ethnicity suggest that education is not meritocratic.
- 2. "Who you know" is more important than "What you know" in some parts of society, so the allocation function doesn't work.
- 3. Functionalism doesn't explain conflict in eduation, it doesn't look at the negatives.
- 4. Functionalists look at school from the outside, they don't see how everything integrates within school.
Criticisms of Marxism.
- 1. Marxists assume people are passive victims, it over exaggerates how much working class students are scialised into obedience. Willis showed how students resist authority.
- 2. Most people are aware of the inequality, so they know that society isn't fair.
- 3. Marxists don't look at how things work wihin schools, how everyone integrates inside the school.
Social Class and Education.
- 1. pupils from professional backgrounds are more likely to enter higher education, opposite for people from a manual background.
- 2. Middle class children are more likely to do A-levels, Working class children are more likely to do vocational courses.
- 3. People from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to leave school at 16.
- 4. People from unskilled backgrounds on average achieve lower scores on SATs and GCSEs and are more likely to be place in lower streams/bands.
Negative labelling leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.
Becker and Keddie stated that teachers evaluate pupils based on the ideal student.
Ball's view on Labelling.
The pupils in the top bands were from higher social class, teachers had higher expectations of them and were treated differently to others.
Hargreaves - those in the bottom streams were more likely to be non-conformist.
Woods responded by saying that there are lots of different reactions to school, but non-conformist reactions were more likely to come from working class students.
Willis - Working class boys rejected authority in school and work
Economic poverty is a big factor in low achievement at school.
Hasley - the most important factor in the low achievement in relation to working class students was lack of financial support.
Douglas - children in unsatisfactory living conditions don't do very well in comparrison to children from a comfortable backgrounds.
unemployment or low income means less money for trips, books, internet access etc.
Working class culture and parenting aren't aimed at educational success.
Douglas - the level of parental interest was the most important factor in affecting achievement. But if Working class parents can't make it to parents evening doesn't mean that they don't care, they migt have inconvenient shifts.
Some parental styles may emphasise the importance of education more than others.
Bernstein's view on achievement.
- 1. Working class students in East London aren't comfortable with the style of language required by school, they use restricted code - slang.
- 2. Middle class students kow how to use the same elaborated code as teachers - speaking proper english, not slang.
Bourdieu's view on achievement.
- 1. Middle class students are at an advantage because they have the right kind of "cultural capital" - the right language, skills, knowledge and attiutudes.
- 2. The more cultural capital you have, the more successful you'll b in education, working class don't have access to cultural capital.
- 3. Middle class families pass on cultural capital and expectations from parents to children. This is called cultural reproduction.
Ethnicity and Education
- 1. Chinese, Afrian Asians and Indians were more qualified than Whites, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Afro-Carribeans.
- 2. Afro-Caribbean girls are more likely to do A-levels than white girls.
- 3. Ethnic minorities are more likely to continue into higher education than Whites.
- 4. Pakistanis and Afro-Carribeans are less likely to go to universities and go to less prestigious universities.
- 5. Afro-Carribean boys are more likely to be excluded and do vocational courses.
Labelling and Ethnicity
Gillborn - teachers negatively label black students as they are a challenge to school authority, and were more likely to be excluded. Teachers had high expectations of Asian students, leading to th self-fulfilling prophecy of success, in conrast to negative labelling which could lead to the self fulfilling prophecy of failure.
Ethnocentrism in Education
Ethnocentrism - believing that your ethnic group is superior to others, and other ethnic groups do what you do.
School curriculum could be ethnocentric, meaning the curriculum has mainstream white, middle class attitudes and beliefs. It could also be Europe-centered too, languages in schools tend to be European languages. Assemblies, school holidays and history lessons may tend to ignore other ethnic groups.
Prejudice in Education
Some see British education as "institutionally racist", meaning that policies and attitudes unintentionally discriminate against the ethnic groups.
Wright - Although teachers were commited to equal oppertunaties, Asian girls got less attention from teachers, probably because they were wearing a headscarf. Afro-Carribean boys were more likely to be sent out of class.
Gender and Education
- 1. Girls do better than boys in most of GCSE subjects
- 2. Girls are more likely to pass their A-levels.
- 3. Women are more likely to go to University, but more men get first class degrees and PhDs than women.
- 4. Girls tend to do more communication based subject like english and sociology, where as boys tend to do technical subjects like maths and physics.
Why do females do better? (Inside school factors)
- 1. Teaching has been "feminised" - wome are more likely to be classroom teacher especially at primary school, girls therefore get positive role models.
- 2. Coursework was introduced in GCSEs - girls put in more effort and were better organised and could concentrate for longer than boys.
- 3. Jackson - boys tend to be negatively labelled, leading to the self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.
- 4. Girls tend to get help from teachers on their work, so there is a high quality of interaction between girls and teachers.
Why do females do better? (outside factors)
- 1. Social policy - Equal pay act + Sex Discrimination act = more equal oppertunities + change in values.
- 2. Sue Sharpe - Priorities for girls have changed, girls now want careers and qualifications, women go out to work, being positive role models for young girls. They want to be finacially independent.
- 3. Boys tend to spend leisure time being physically active, girls tend to spend time reading and communicating, improving their language and communication skills.
- 4. Feminists stress that girls should be more assertive and demand equality.
Underachievement of boys.
- 1. Boys may be facing an identity crisis, the rise of female independence means there is a decline of the "breadwinner" role. Rise of male unemployment might mean for boys what is the point of education?
- 2. Iterpretivists say that teachers have lower expectations for boys, leading to the self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.
- 3. Feminisation of teaching means there are less role models for boys in schools.
- 4. Reading is seen as "uncool", they tend to avoid it, this means their communication skills don't develope like that of girls.
Subcultures explaning Gender and Achievement.
- 1. Willis - working class boys, rejected authority in school, took their resistence to work place, decided that having a laugh was better.
- 2. Mac and Ghaill - "macho lad" subcultures is for those who believe their masculinity is threatend, there are pro-school subcultures who do have boys.
- 3. Fuller - Afro-Carribean girls in London formed a subculture to reject their negative labels, and ended up getting good grades.
in 1944 there was the 11+ (like an IQ test), results of the test determined what type of school you went to in the Tripartite System.
- 1. Grammar school - for able kids who passed the 11+. They were taught subjects ready for University. 20% got into grammar school.
- 2. Secondary modern schools - offered basic education, for 75-80% who failed the 11+.
- 3. Technical schools - provided vocational education. Only 5% of school population went to a technical school.
Problems with the Tripartite System.
- 1. 11+ didn'tmeasure your intlligence, it was culturally biased and suied the middle class.
- 2. Few Technical schools were built, so the vocational part of the plan didn't work.
- 3. The three types were meant to have "parity of esteem" - equal value, but the Grammar schools were seen as the best and the Technical schools were the worst.
- 4. Those who failed the 11+ were labelled as failures, which turned some off education.
- 5. If middle class pupils failed, their parents would be able to afford private education.
Comprehensive school - education is universal, everyone gets the same thing.
Pros and Cons of Comprehensive schools.
- (+) No more 11+, so 80% of the school population weren't labelled as failures.
- (+) Lower ability pupils do better in comprehensive schools than in the old secondary modern schools.
- (-) Comprehensive scholls still streame pupils into sets depending on their test scores.
- (-) Schools in wroking class areas have a lower pass rate than schools from middle class areas.
Increase in Vocational Education.
- 1. The Youth Traning System (YTS) started in 1983.
- 2. GNVQs and NVQs were introduced in 1993.
- 3. Introduction of Key Skills.
- 4. The introduction of the vocational A-Level - a qualifiation intended to be of equal worth to atraditional, academic A-Level.
Issues with Vocational education.
- 1. Some sociologists argue that vocational education teaches dicipline, not skills.
- 2. Some Marxist sociologists say that vocational traning provides cheap labour, government get more people into this just to lower unemployment figures.
- 3. Vocational education is sometimes rejected by Universities and Employers as it isn't highly academic as A-Levels.
Education Reform Act
- 1. Education should link to the economy - Vocational education.
- 2. There should be better standards in education - National Curriculum, OFSTED, schools being a grant-maintained school (meaning they get money from the government and the shcool spends it how it wants to, not a local authority school).
- 3. There should be a system of choice and competition - parents using league tables to choose which schools to send their children to and that schools working like businesses, advertising to stuents.
- 4. There should be more testing and more exams.
New Labour and Education.
- 1. Reduced class size to a max. of 30.
- 2. Introduction of "numeracy hour" and "literacy hour" in primary schools.
- 3. Allowed faith schools and specialist status schools.
- 4. They've set up Education Action Zones to help deprived areas.
- 5. Tried to increase the number of people going to university.
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