Discuss the view that social class differences in educational achievement are the result of cultural factors. Social class background has a powerful influence on a child’s chances of success in the education system. Children from middle-class families on average perform better than children from working-class families and the gap between middle and working class educational achievement gets bigger as children get older. External factors, also known as cultural factors, these are factors outside the education system, such as the influence of home and family background and wider society. Sociologists believe that most people begin to obtain basic values, attitudes and skills that are needed to succeed in education through primary socialisation in the family. The basic ‘cultural factors’ includes things such as language, self-discipline and reasoning skills. According to some sociologists, many working-class families fail to socialise their children sufficiently, this is known as ‘cultural deprivation’. There are 3 main aspects of cultural deprivation Intellectual development, Language and attitudes and values.
Intellectual development is the development of think and reasoning skills, for example problem solving, using concepts etc. It is argued that working class homes lack books, educational toys and games to stimulate intellectual development so these children are likely to start school without the necessary skills needed to progress, this is because they can’t afford to get toys and books that help with intellectual development. Douglas (1964) found that working class pupils scored lower on test of ability than middle-class pupils, he argues that this is because working-class parents are less likely to support their children’s intellectual development through reading with them or other educational activities at home, this could be because they don’t have the time as they are working and when they aren’t working they’re doing the housework etc. To support...
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