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Examining class differences Essay

(a)Explain briefly what is meant by the term ‘elaborated speech code’ . Elaborate speech code is usually associated with middle-class, well educated people. It uses a wide variety of vocabulary, is more context based, uses grammatically complex sentences, communicates abstract ideas and is mostly context-free.

(b)Identify three policies that governments have introduced to compensate for material and cultural disadvantage, apart from Educational Priority Areas. Compensatory education is a policy designed in order to tackle the problem of cultural deprivation, by providing resources to communities as well as schools in deprived areas. An example of a compensatory education programme is Operation Head Start in the United States, which is one of the best known examples of such programmes. Operation Head Start focuses on pre-school ‘planned enrichment’ education in poorer areas, which was introduced in the 1960s. Their aim was to develop children’s learning skills and instil achievement motivation. This included tasks such as: setting up nursery classes, home visits by health visitors and educational psychologists, improving parenting skills and the creation of intensive learning programmes for deprived children.

Sesame Street, the popular TV programme, was initially created as part of Head Start, in order to reach young children and reflecting the values and attitudes needed for educational success; such as the importance of general knowledge, literacy and numeracy. In the UK, there have been several compensatory education programmes over the years, such as the Education Priority Areas that were created in the 1960s, Education Action Zones, which were introduced in the 1960s, and more recently, with the launch in 2000, comes Sure Start. Sure Start is a nationwide programme aimed at pre-school children as well as their parents.

However, it also has non-educational aims, such as improving children’s health. Sure Start was introduced by the British Government in order to tackle poverty and social exclusion. The centres available provide integrated education, family support, support with parental employment, care and health services. Sure Start’s main aim is to work with parents to promote the physical, intellectual, educational and social development of babies and young children, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

(c)Outline some of the ways in which material deprivation may affect educational achievement. Material deprivation is a lack of resources and necessities needed to live a basic lifestyle, such as an adequate diet, housing, clothing, or in some cases, the money to be able to buy these things. Material deprivation can affect educational achievement as the result of the lack of these necessities. Children in education will need financial support from their parents/carers in order to pursue a sufficient education; however disadvantaged families cannot afford educational aids. As well as that, families living in poverty may have limited space in their home.

This leads to overcrowding, which means there is nowhere for the child to study. Also, this could lead to illness, depending on the state and cleanliness of the house. For example, dampness can cause a variety of illnesses, which leads to absence at school, therefore, lessening the child’s chance of a successful education. Some parents may force their children to leave school early and pursue a career in order to provide extra income for the family.

(d)Using material from Item A (source) and elsewhere, assess the view that working class children under-achieve because they are culturally deprived. 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.


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