?“ASSESS THE IMPORTANCE OF SCHOOL FACTORS SUCH AS RACISM AND PUPILS RESPONSES TO RACISM IN CREATING ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT”. (20 MARKS) Ethnic differences concerning education achievement arise from numerous factors these including internal and external school factors such as racism, pupil responses, material and cultural deprivation which is faced by some ethnic groups and are the main reasons to explain why certain ethnic groups perform the way in which they do.
Within this essay I will look at the previously stated factors and assess the importance of them and how much they actually impact on the educational achievement of these ethnic groups. Labelling and teacher racism is a factor of racism which creates an impact in educational achievement amongst ethnic groups for example teachers label Black and Asian pupils as being far from the ‘ideal’ pupil, as Black pupils are seen to be disruptive and Asian pupils as passive.
These negative labels may lead to teachers treating ethnic minority pupils differently, Therefore disadvantages them and resulting to their failure. Gillborn and Youdell found teachers were quicker to discipline black pupils than others for the same before, this is due to teachers ‘racialised expectations’, found teachers expected black pupils to present more discipline problems and misinterpreted their behaviour as threatening or challenging to authority.
They also found that African Caribbean’s as the best starters but became worst during their GCSEs found that attaching negative labels to different ethnic groups had negative effects, this link in with the self-fulfilling prophecy for those who conform to this role and those who reject it and are in turn successful. Pupil responses to racism also determine educational success this supported by Heidi Safia Mirza who studied ambitious black girls who faced teacher racism. Girls in Mirza’s study failed to achieve their ambitions because their coping strategies restricted their opportunities and resulted in under-achievement.
Mirza found that racist teachers discouraged black pupils from being ambitious through the kind of advice they gave them about careers and option choices. In contrast to the Mirza’s study, the Fuller and Mac an Ghaill came to the conclusions through their study, that pupils may succeed even when they refuse to conform and that negative labelling does not always lead to failure as the girls from the study were able to reject the labels placed on them and they remained determined to succeed.
This suggests that educational achievement is reliant on the pupils response to racism and how it is dealt this either by acceptance and conforming a anti school culture hence creating a self-fulfilling prophecy or by working against the label and achieving to a high standard without attracting the negative aspects of the schooling environment. Other factors such as material and cultural deprivation have been seen to make create ethnic differences in educational achievement. The material deprivation aspect can be explained through statistics showing children entitled to free school meals, by ethnic group.
The highest ranking ethnic groups are Bangladeshis and Pakistanis entitled to free school meals, these inequalities parallel those seen in educational achievement. For example Indians and whites generally have a higher social class position than Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, who often face high levels of poverty. The material deprivation explanation argues that such class differences explain why Bangladeshi and Pakistani pupils tend to do worse than Indian and white pupils.
Cultural deprivation is also said to cause differences within achievement as intellectual and linguistic skills, attitudes and values and family structure all play key role in determining educational success. Intellectual and linguistic skills are valued to be the most important as without this essential tool children are most likely to under-achieve as they unequipped for the school as they have not been able to develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Bereiter and Engelmann consider language spoken by low-income black American families as inadequate for educational success. See it as ungrammatical, disjointed and incapable of expressing abstract ideas. There has also been concern that children who do not speak English at home may be held back educationally. Nevertheless, the Swann report found that language was not a major factor in under-achievement, while Gillborn and Mirza note that Indian pupil do very well despite often not having English as their home language.
Attitudes and values perceived by black children are seen as unsatisfactory by many cultural deprivation theorists as their lack of motivation is the major cause of their failure as they are socialised into subculture which does not value education and has fatalistic attitude. Most other children are socialised into the mainstream ideology which instils ambition, competiveness and willingness to make the sacrifices for long term goals essentially equips them for success in education.
Family structure and parental support, Ken Pryce sees family structure as contributing to the under-achievement of black Caribbean pupils in Britain. From a comparison of black and Asian pupils, he claims that Asians are higher achievers because their culture is more resistant to racism and gives them a greater sense of self-worth. By contrast, he argues, black Caribbean culture is less cohesive and less resistant to racism. As a result, many black pupils have low self-esteem and under-achieve. Argues difference is the result of differing impact of colonialism on the two groups.
Experience of slavery was culturally devastating for blacks they lost their language, religion and entire family system. Asian family structure remains intact as, languages and religions were not destroyed by colonial rule. Sociologists argue racism in wider society is a factor which restricts educational achievement of certain ethnic groups this is supported by David Mason who puts it, ‘discrimination is a continuing and persistent feature of the experience of Britain’s citizens of minority ethnic origin’.
It is also argued by sociologist John Rex who shows how racial discrimination leads to social exclusion and how this in turn worsens the poverty faced by ethnic minorities in housing for instance. There are links to employment also as on a basis of last names determine ethnicity and from that some are biased towards e. g. when being chosen for a job and the last names ‘Patel’ and ‘Evans’ have the same set of qualifications, the company would be interested in recruiting ‘Evans’ the white candidate more than ‘Patel’ who is from an Indian background.
This explains why member of ethnic minorities are more likely to face unemployment and low pay, and this in turn has a negative effect on their children’s educational prospects. The concluded judgement suggests that the ethnic differences which arise within educational achievement are down to a mixture of material and cultural deprivation as these are most influential in determining educational success and addressing ethnic differences.
Some pupil responses to racism and racism also have the ability to suggest why ethnic differences arise overall but are mostly dependent on the individual and how he/she perceives the educations system e. g. either negatively or positively due to experience or upbringing. This would then initially give an insight onto how well the pupil would perform. Criticism which occur are of internationalist who argue that you cannot generalise a whole ethnic group as all the different experiences, therefore any suggestions made about the whole ethnic groups education achievements may or may not reflect a true image.
Courtney from Study Moose