Education & Society by BiUr4Nvg

VIEWS: 42 PAGES: 36

									Education & Society




  - How fair are educational systems?
       - Are they “meritocratic”?
- Does it matter what your social class
             background is?
Why do working class children tend to perform
 worse than middle class children at school?


2002 – General Household Survey

Social class 1 (higher professionals)
- 78% have university qualifications
- 3% have no qualifications

Social class 6 (unskilled working class)
- 1% have university qualifications
- 74% have no qualifications
        LECTURE OUTLINE

      1. What is “education”?
2. History of education (in Britain)
3. Functionalist views of education
  4. Critical theories of education
     Education and social class
     - Bowles & Gintis, Willis,
          Bernstein, Bourdieu
            5. Evaluation
    WHAT IS “EDUCATION”?
1) Primary Socialisation
- Childhood - family

2) Secondary Socialisation
- Childhood - outside family

a) Informal: Peer groups, mass media

b) Formal: Education system
     WHAT IS “EDUCATION”?
Education – “the social
 institution guiding the
 transmission of knowledge, job
 skills, cultural norms and
 values” (Macionis & Plummer)

Schooling – “formal instruction
  under the direction of specially
  trained teachers”
  (Macionis & Plummer)
            WHAT IS EDUCATION?
Modern formal education is specific to
 modern societies

Pre- and non-modern societies
Informal
Practical skills / non-abstract

Modern formal education
Abstraction & Standardisation
Bureaucracy
Credentialism
Meritocracy
    HISTORY OF EDUCATION
          (in Britain)
Prior to mid-19th century:

- Only elites receive a
formal education

- Gendered:
      “Gentlemen”
        “Ladies”
From mid-19th century onwards:

Development of the
Industrial Revolution

- need more skilled workers
 mass education

1) basic literacy and numeracy
2) citizenship skills
Into the 20th century
FREE and COMPULSORY primary
  education for all (up to 11 years old )

THEN

FREE and COMPULSORY primary
 AND secondary education for all (up
 to 15 years old)

THEN

1972 – School leaving age raised to 16
  years old
          FUNCTIONALIST VIEWS
   Emile Durkheim; Talcott Parsons
1. Each part of a society (a social
   institution) contributes to the smooth-
   running operation of the whole society

2. Each of the parts must work together
   effectively with all the other parts

3. Education helps keep the whole
   society functioning

4. Education works together with the
   other social institutions (e.g. economy,
   political system)
a) Education teaches work skills
- Necessary for the economy
b) Education teaches citizenship
- Necessary for the political system
c) Education teaches shared ideas, values
  and morals
- Necessary for society as a whole
  Modern societies are “meritocracies”

NATURAL INTELLIGENCE +
    EFFORT
= EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS

SUCCESS
= good qualifications
= high-level employment
= wealth & high social status

Social background is irrelevant
          CRITICAL THEORIES
1. Education reflects the nature of an
   unequal and unfair society

2. Education helps the socially highly
   privileged retain their wealth & power

3. Education works such that the less
   privileged continue to lack wealth &
   power

4. “Meritocracy” is more myth than reality
         Education & Social Class
Karl Marx (mid 19th century)

a) Capitalist society is run in the
   interests of powerful groups
- Ruling classes / working classes

b) Social institutions - both individually
   and together - work to:
- maintain the power of the powerful
- keep the less powerful in their place
Education & the economy
- Ensures workforce is passive and
    compliant
- Workforce accepts being
    exploited

Education and the political
    system
- Ensures working classes accept
    the political system as
    legitimate (which is controlled
    by the ruling classes)
- Prevents revolutions and
    rebellions
     Education and ideas, values
             and morals

i)   Reflect ruling class interests /
     thoroughly biased
ii) Education enforces ruling class
     ideas and values among the
     working classes
iii) Often done in a hidden way:
     “Hidden agendas” within school
                 curriculum
  Education & Society 2
  - Are education systems
       “meritocratic”?

 - YES: functionalist views

   - NO: critical theories

            - Marx:
  - education is a tool of the
        ruling classes
- working classes socialised
             BOWLES & GINTIS
“Hidden curriculum”

Education apparently teaches
  ideas and skills

Education actually socialises
  people into certain sorts of
  attitudes (about themselves
  and society)

Done subconsciously &
 unintentionally
Upper middle class (ruling class)
(Often in private education)
- Think for themselves
- Leaders / holding authority

Working classes
- Obedience
Teachers as authority figures
Time is managed
Accepting orders

Lower middle class
- Obey orders from those above
- Give orders to those below
                Paul Willis
“Learning to Labour” (1977)
- How Working Class Kids Get
   Working Class Jobs
An English secondary school

Two main types of male pupil:
a) The “Lads” - bad behaviour;
   academic failures
b) The “Swots” – good behaviour;
   academic successes
1) “Bad behaviour” is socially created
- “lads” are lower working class
  (unskilled)
- see little point in formal education
- see no hope of social advancement

2) “Bad behaviour” is useful for
  capitalist society
- capitalist economy - unskilled jobs
- capitalist system REQUIRES some
  people to fail
- happens mostly unintentionally
           BASIL BERNSTEIN
WORKING CLASS SPEECH
“RESTRICTED CODE”
- Simple words
- Not fully grammatical
- Slang & regional dialect
- Strong local accents

MIDDLE CLASS SPEECH
“ELABORATE CODE”
- More complicated words
- Fully grammatical
- Use of “standard English”
- Weak local accents
Elaborate Code
Used in school
- Teachers use it
- Courses taught
- Essays & exams

Pupils rewarded
Academic success

Restricted code
Pupils punished
Academic failure
PIERRE BOURDIEU
              2 QUESTIONS:

  1) HOW DO MIDDLE CLASS
    PARENTS PASS ON THEIR
    ADVANTAGES IN LIFE TO THEIR
    CHILDREN?
  (Wealth, good jobs, social status, etc.)

  2) HOW DO WORKING CLASS
    PARENTS PASS ON THEIR
    DISADVANTAGES IN LIFE TO
    THEIR CHILDREN?

      “SOCIAL REPRODUCTION”
SUCCESS OR FAILURE -
- “CAPITAL”
- WHAT TYPES? HOW MUCH OF EACH?

DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH “CAPITAL”
  PARENTS PASS ONTO CHILD

Types of “capital”:
1) Economic capital (money)
2) Social capital (social connections and
    networks)
3) Cultural capital ( a) knowledge of “high
    culture”; b) refined manners & language)
Upper middle class
(e.g. high-level lawyers):
- High levels of all 3 types of capital

Lower middle class
(e.g. primary school teachers)
- Middling levels of all 3 types of capital

Working class
(e.g. bus drivers)
- Low levels of all 3 types of capital

(Exceptions – e.g. working class people
  with quite high economic capital but
  low cultural capital – nouveau riche)
Education works in ways that:

a) Retain upper middle class
  wealth & privilege

b) Preserve working class lack
  of these

c) Keep lower middle class in
  the middle
EDUCATION IS BIASED TOWARDS FAVOURING
  UPPER MIDDLE CLASS CHILDREN:

1) Economic capital
Can buy educational success
- Private school
- “Good” state school
- Property prices – school catchment area

2) Social capital
- Parents use social connections to get children
   into school of their choice
- Children make useful social connections at school
- “Old school tie”
3. Cultural capital

i) High cultural capital:
- “well-spoken”
- “sophisticated” language
- “good manners”
- seem “intelligent”
- confidence generally and in class

ii) Teachers and exam systems reward pupils
    with high cultural capital
    They penalise those with low cultural capital

iii) Mostly unintentional and done
    subconsciously
Effects: “Self-fulfilling prophecies”

a) Children with high cultural capital
     positively evaluated by teachers
- High self-esteem – “talented”
- Good class and exam performances

b) Children with low cultural capital
    negatively evaluated by teachers
- Low self-esteem – not talented
- Poor class and exam performances

   SOCIAL CLASS BACKGROUND
   TRANSFORMED INTO “PERSONAL
   TALENT”
     BOURDIEU’S CONCLUSIONS
1. We do not live in a meritocracy
2. Education system seriously biased
   in favour of upper middle class
3. This is mostly unintentional
4. Amount and level of qualifications:
   - natural intelligence is much less
   important than social background
5. Some working class children
   achieve educational success – but
   it’s a very small minority
 EVALUATION OF CRITICAL THEORIES
1. Out-dated? Written in 1970s.
   Class structure now less static.
2. Over-emphasise power of upper
   middle class to retain educational
   privileges?
3. Under-emphasise education’s role
   in allowing social mobility
4. Enlargement of University sector
   - rising working-class participation
   in University education
5. Appearance of more teachers
    of working class origins

6. Can’t explain gender
   differences in educational
   achievement

   - can’t explain why girls OF
   ALL SOCIAL CLASSES now
   doing better than boys
 EVALUATION OF CRITICAL THEORIES
1) Gap between rich and poor widening
- Less social mobility than 30 years ago

2) Universities:
- Most entrants to elite universities still from
  elite schools and upper middle classes

- Lower class students tend towards less
  prestigious universities

- Trend towards postgraduate qualifications
 TO WHAT DEGREE is education
         meritocratic?


 LOOK AT THE STATISTICAL
   TABLES IN THE BOOKS

EVALUATE the theories in light of
        EVIDENCE
   Education & Society 2




   Functionalist views: modern education
systems are “meritocratic” / class background
          irrelevant to achievement

 Critical theories: modern education systems
are very biased in favour of the higher classes

								
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