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Sociology - Boys Underachievement

By ejrose4 Apr 15, 2013 773 Words
The Underachievement of boys
- Using information from the Items and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of boys underachievement in education ( 20 marks ) The male underachievement has been a concern since the mid 90's. The media portrayed this and moral panic went around family households and concerns in schools followed soon after. It is mainly the working class black boys that tended to underachieve in education. Also the male underachievement is partly to do with external factors, these are things that happen outside of school. Poor literacy skills and the decline of traditional male jobs, for example manufacturing etc. Another is internal factors that have affected the underachievement. Laddish subculture, feminisation of education and a shortage of male school teachers in primary schools. Fancis and Skelton (2005) believe that the concern over this issue has been an exaggerated 'moral panic' - a sudden and illogical outburst about a supposed decline in society that does not reflect reality. However, there is evidence that shoes that certain boys are underachieving. Working class boys still tend to do very poorly in the education system. There has been a widening of the gender gap, the difference in performance between males and females. This suggests that there is some problems to explain the underachievement in boys. Underachievement in boys also comes from the lack of interaction between the culture of masculinity and the education system. Francis (2000) suggests that both genders face problems in education, but there are number of problems specific to boys. Boys get more classroom attention from teachers, but are criticized more by teachers. This is demotivating them and lowering their expectations. Secondly in the 1970's, boys tended to think that they were more able than girls. Changing teachers attitudes and publicity about male underachievement have led to boys losing their confidence. And lastly the stereotype of the ideal pupil tends to fit girls better than boys. And boys are more keen to remain popular with their peer groups. Jackson, the laddish subculture 2006 used interviews and questionnaires to study masculinity and femininity in eight schools, she found that the schools were dominated by a culture of hegemonic masculinity which valued toughness, power and competitiveness. Academic work is seen as feminine so is seen as 'uncool' by the boys. Boys mess around and try to impress their peers. This suggests that boys underachieve because mostly of peers and low-self worth and low-self esteem. Item A suggests that boys and schooling take 3 main forms. There are stories about ' poor boys', who are the victims of feminism of teachers, about schools which fail them and about their laddishness. They seek to use girls to take control and police boys and teach them, leaving boys to retaliate because they think it's uncool so their achievement in school may go down because of rebellion. Sociologists Mitsos and Browne (1998) found other factors operating inside the education system, they argue that teachers now have low expectations of boys. They expect them to be disruptive and their work to be late and rushed. They therefore tend not to push boys to do better when they are underperforming. Boys may become disillusioned with education in their early years. Primary school environments tend to be female-dominated and may have an excessive emphasis on being neat and tidy, which are not boys strengths. These are some of the reasons why boys are underachieving according to Mitsos and Browne. Feminists such as Osler (2006) believe that the current concern about underachievement by boys has led to neglect of the problem of underachievement among girls. For example, when pupils are excluded from school more help is now available for boys than girls. The emphasis on the underachievement by boys could also obscure the importance of social class since it is largely working - class boys who underachieve. Item B says that the statistical data that informs people that boys are underachieving is misleading. It is social class not gender and race differences that continues to have the sing;e most important influence on educational attainment in Britian. This suggests that it is inaccurate to imply that all boys underperform and that all girls do well. The real question is; what action is being taken to raise the academic performance of working - class girls as well as other underachievers? To conclude, sociologists have different eplanations of how boys are underachieving and what is to be done. They are all very similar to each other and all take into account other social backgrounds. The underachievement in education in boys at school is mostly to do with what happens inside of school and the consequences of these actions.

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