Factors That Affect Learning

Topics: Social class, Emotion, Working class Pages: 8 (2305 words) Published: November 21, 2014
Factors That Affect Learning

All children matter, regardless of their background. It is important that every child can fulfil its true potential, however there are factors that can affect a child’s learning to stop this. This essay will discuss the importance of emotional intelligence and how it positively affects a child’s learning and social class with its negative affect on education and solutions to combat it so deprived children have better opportunities in school.

Social class has a major affect on educational achievement in schools as, “low income is a strong predictor of low performance” (Rowntree Foundation 2007, p.1). Marxist sociologists like Bowles and Gintis (1976) and Willis (1977) believe in the reproduction of labour, meaning working class children end up leaving school into working class jobs, as the educational system is focused on creating a docile, obedient future workforce. This suggests that some children are at a disadvantage because of their social class, even before they start school, as the educational system is not in their favour: “beneath the façade of meritocracy lies the reality of the educational system geared toward the reproduction of economic relations” (Bowles and Gintis 1976. p.103). The working class face the problem of have fewer opportunities than their wealthier peers who go on to obtain higher qualifications and higher paid jobs irrespective of their ability. Bowles and Gintis (1976) argue that these working class children who are not successful blame themselves and not the system, which has destined them to fail. This suggests that schools purposely have a system in which the working class have very little social mobility, meaning that once their in the lower sets that is where they stay; “systems of streaming in the comprehensive school contribute to the process of reproduction of class relations through education” (Ball 1986, in Rogers 1986, p.88). The system is built for those who are middle class, which makes sense as when schools first opened, only the rich could go and those that go to private schools do far better than state schools. If government wanted the educational system to be fair shouldn’t they make all schools the same? Even state schools have their own reputations; affluent areas do far better than poorer areas. The work of Bowles and Gintis has been criticised about their lack of research in schools to explain how the economic system shapes the educational system. Teachers’ expectations of working class children are normally lower than expectations of the middle class children as their reputation for educational attainment is far better. This causes some children to fall in to a self-fulfilling prophecy where they act like the teachers expect. Willis (1977), unlike Bowles and Gintis, has done a “classic sociologic investigation” (Giddens 2006. p711) into how cultural reproduction occurs by studying a group of 12, working class, male pupils. His research suggested that schools are not completely successful in creating the obedient, docile workforce that was put forward by Bowles and Gintis. The boys actively rejected the formal school culture in favour of the manual labour jobs (Rogers 1986). Therefore it is this working class, counter school sub culture that negatively affects the learning of the children who belong to this group. A criticism of Marxism is that it is quite radical in saying the system is out to get the working class. There aren’t as many neo Marxism views that come into the mainstream so it can be argued that their views on social class is outdated, especially as there has been efforts by the government trying to tackle the issue of the gap of attainment between the working and middle class children.

Bernstein (1975, in Giddens 2006) identified that language codes affect learning. Working class children have a restricted code of speech. This is the kind of speech found in conversations between friends and family, often using: short,...
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