Assess the Importance of School Factors Such as Racism and Pupils Response to Racism in Creating Ethnic Differences in Educational Achievement

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There is an obvious correlation between educational achievement and ethnicity, and many sociologists believe this is to do with two factors; Internal (School) Factors and External (Out Of School) Factors. Both factors play their part in the educational achievement of a pupil however ethnicity is very difficult to measure as both Internal Factors and External Factors should be considered.

Many sociologists believe Internal Factors play a major part as racism within the school, from pupils and teachers, can severely affect educational achievement. Pupils at a young age do not understand how offensive racism is and teachers are not always directly racist but are inadvertly racist. A very good example of this is labelling student which comes as almost second nature to teachers, and people in general. For example if a student labels a student as 'bright' they are more likely to stick to this label and achieve higher grades. Unfortunately this also works on the opposite side of the spectrum. Teachers may label students due to their ethnic background without considering their actual level of cleverness. For example black students do not fit the ideal pupil silhouette and may therefore be labelled as a 'troublemaker', leading them to not do as well as, say, white British pupils.

Cecile Wright (1992) found that Asian pupils are a main target of labelling by the teachers. Teachers may speak down to them assuming that they can not speak the English language as well as white pupils. Because of this they are more likely to be left out of class discussions and will therefore feel isolated. Wright explains that Asian students are seen as a "problem they can ignore". She found that this leads teachers to have ethnocentric views about these students. Gillborn and Youdell also back up this view with black pupils, showing that teachers tend to view black students as having behavioural problems, even if they are the most well behaved in the class. This can lead the...
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