Using material from item A and elsewhere, Assess the view that working-class children under-achieve because they are culturally deprived. (20 marks)

Topics: Social class, Working class, Sociology Pages: 5 (1829 words) Published: October 23, 2013
Assess the view that working-class children under-achieve because they are culturally deprived. (20 marks) The idea that working-class children will most likely under-achieve due to a lack of culture, also known as cultural deprivation, refers to children lacking the norms, values, beliefs, skills and knowledge that a society would regard as important and necessary. The attributes that these children should know and learn are, in most cases, taught by their parents and are passed to the next generation through socialisation. All children are socialised differently, and the social class of the parent has a huge impact on the child and may affect their achievement in education. According to the cultural deprivation theory, some working-class parents fail to communicate and instil the appropriate norms, values, beliefs, skills and knowledge needed for educational success. However, there are other factors that can determine how well a child does within education. For example, material deprivation, cultural capital and economic capital can also have an impact on how well some children will attain, therefore cultural deprivation is not the only factor and may not be the most important reason to why working-class children under-achieve. Cultural deprivation theorists, such as Douglas (1964) argued that working class parents offer less encouragement and support towards their children's education. However, others such as Tizard (1981) argue that the apparent lack of interest of working class parents may mask their lack of confidence or knowledge in dealing with schools. Nonetheless, theorists believed that there are three major factors that are responsible for working-class under-achievement: a lack of intellectual stimulation, the restricted speech code and working-class subcultures. A lack of intellectual stimulation refers to the development of analytical and thinking skills, such as the capability to decipher a difficult problem and use new ideas and concepts. Theorists claim that many working-class homes often lacked the books, educational toys and activities that would incentivise the intellectual development of a child. Therefore, children from this social class, in many cases, begin their educational journey without developing the intellectual skills needed to improve and progress. Douglas (1964) found that working-class pupils scored lower on tests of ability than middle-class pupils. Due to this study, he argues that this occurred as a consequence from the parents of working-class students by not offering enough support when it comes to intellectual development. Alternatively, Bernstein and Young (1967) found that the way mothers choose toys has an influence on their children’s intellectual development. Middle-class mothers are more likely to favour toys that encourage and inspire thinking skills in comparison to working-class mothers that may not choose the same toys. Speech codes are also a result of cultural deprivation and they can affect the way a child attains at school. The cultural deprivation theory followed by the two main speech codes, founded by Basil Bernstein (1975), disadvantage working class children from middle class children. The theory suggests that the speech patterns of the working-class are inferior and flawed. Bernstein proposes that children from working-class backgrounds adopt a restricted speech code, which limits vocabulary, and middle-class children adopt an elaborated speed code, which can communicate abstract ideas. The elaborated code is what most teachers, exam boards, textbooks and university interviewers will be accustomed to because they use it themselves, therefore working-class students are immediately disadvantaged and their speech code prevents them from progressing quickly. Cultural deprivation theorists distinguish three aspects of working-class subculture that are partly responsible for under-achievement. Barry Sugarman (1970) conveyed the idea the students from working-class...
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