Context and concepts
Paul Willis conducted a study called “Learning to labour” in 1977 in which he studied 12 working class students in their last 18 months at a school in the West-Midlands, the methods he used were observation and participant observation. The boys he studied were known as the “lads”. These boys knew what they needed to do in order to achieve and get qualifications but instead they chose to reject school and developed laddish behaviour, because they believed that education was unmasculine and uncool and that they would get a job even if they didn’t have any qualifications. They thought that manual labour was more worthy than work at a desk or an office. This is where my first concept “laddism” stems from. This is a male script of toughness which is characterised by negative feelings towards school. Willis found that there were two types of pupils in the class, the “earoles” who commit themselves to their education and the lads who took little notice of school rules, teachers and work, instead they thought school was all about having a “laff”. These are all coping strategies the boys had developed in order to cope and minimize the boredom of school and the future routine based jobs they would ultimately end up in. The boys thought that manual labour was more worthy than work at a desk or office. Mitsos and Brown also looked at why boys underachieve in education and thought it was mainly due to what teachers expected of them, which leads me to my second concept “teacher expectations”. They found that teachers tend to be less strict with boys, expecting low standards of work from them, leading them to underachieve as they failed to push them to achieve their full potential. This also means that the boys started to become overconfident and also started to overestimate their abilities to do something and so making themselves believe that they don’t need to work as hard in order to gain qualifications. Boys were also more likely to be sent out of...
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