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Social Class and Ethnicity in Education - Essay Example

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As shown repeatedly in several studies, Asian and Indian students have been doing well in international examinations than their counterparts from other sides of the globe. Students from some minority ethnic groups particularly African-Caribbean, Pakistani & Bangladeshi students often have below average reading ability and are likely to achieve low GCSE grades…
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Social Class and Ethnicity in Education
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Social Class and Ethnicity in Education

How then do social class and ethnicity interrelate in education
Coard (1971) quoted in Ethnicity and Identity (2006) noted that education system makes black children feel unconventional hence creating an inferiority complex. Furthermore, education & resources ignore black people and ethnic groups in general and their culture. Racism is also a factor related to school achievement, which occurs in and out of school. In fact, attitudes in the classroom are reinforced in the playground. Wright (1992 qtd. in Ethnicity and Identity, 2006) looked at racism in multi- racial primary schools and found that Asian children were isolated and received less attention from teachers. Assumptions about culture & language were also made such as in African Caribean children in whom bad behaviour was expected from them. As a result, they received harsher discipline. Studies conducted by Boylan (2005) as cited in Gardiner's (2006) research, indicated, "only 35 percent of African American college students completed their courses of study." This result, he argued could be "attributed to some identifiable problems associated within this ethnic group" and were related to "socio-economic status, cultural mistrust, depression, fatigue and racism".
Social class also affects achievemen...
This situation has been classically exemplified by Willis's account of Learning to Labour (1977) quoted in Social exclusion and class analysis (Savage, n.d.),

"as he shows how working-class 'lads' who felt uncomfortable in an academic, middle-class school environment play up their independent, 'manly' qualities by embracing the world of manual labour. This leads them to take up 'dead-end' jobs with few prospects, which therefore ultimately reinforces their own subordination within the class system."

This illustrates that social class of an individual may define his school achievement.

Language as the main medium of instruction also affects student performance and achievement. Among ethnic groups, English or Standard English may not be the main medium of communication at home. As quoted in Ethnicity and Identity (2006), Swann Report (1985) stressed that language differences "may hold some children back but not majority." School performance is greatly affected when there is language barrier such that skills and competencies may not be learned and mastered. In effect, these non-native English-speaking groups often get low scores in achievement tests. This is also true with other languages as in the case of Tibetan education where they attend schools that focus on learning Mandarin Chinese. Since the school discourages their native language, "Tibetan students are being taught that their language is inferior." (Markin, n.d.). The textbooks are standardized and written from a Han Chinese perspective, the lessons do not relate to the Tibetans' daily lives and the material being taught emphasizes Han Chinese culture, thus achievement is low.

A link between social class & ethnic group, ... Read More
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