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Educational Achievement And Development Essay

1349 words - 5 pages

Educational achievement is one of the most important factors of a students’ academic journey. Education as a form of secondary socialisation teaches students, the basic norms and values of society and assists in developing their individual identity. In many cases there are contributing issues that not only hinder, but can dramatically affect a child’s educational achievement and development; but also impacts negatively on their childhood experience. These contributing factors consist of a person’s class, their gender and/or their race and ethnicity; which no child has the ability to change at such a young and impressionable age. The issue of race, ethnicity and gender are essentially a part of a person’s genetic design, which is biologically determined and cannot be changed easily. When a child is born they have no control over the social environment they are born into, it is only in later life that they may have the opportunity to develop and gain a greater chance of social mobility within society. The problematic attributes of gender, social class and race/ethnicity, regarding educational achievement and attainments, are a combination of environmental (social constructivism) and biological design (essentialism). This essay will critique how a child can be labelled and/or stereotyped depending on their individual identity construction, including their social class, gender and/or race and ethnicity, which may lead to problematic issues within their personal educational achievement.

Within society today, race, ethnicity, social class and gender, including sexual orientation; collectively help to define and construct who we are as individuals within society. Burr (1995) states that social constructivism emphasises the importance of culture and context, when understanding what occurs within a society, and developing knowledge based on this understanding. Burr (1995) maintains that the perspective of social constructivism is closely related with many contemporary theories and theorists, for example Vygotsky, Bruner and Bandura. In contrast essentialism is the ideology that people have an underlying and unchanging persona, both biologically and physiologically (Haralambos and Holborn. 2004). For example, Haralambos and Holborn (2004) imply that all women are the same in nature, as are all men; therefore persons of the same gender are biologically and socially connected regardless of any differences in their social circumstances.

The issues surrounding race and ethnicity, in society today, are just as complex as they were over a hundred years ago. A person’s race can be defined by the colour of their skin, whereas a person’s ethnicity is defined by the social group in which they live, these affiliations can include religious beliefs, culture and their heritage. Walton and Caliendo (2011) confirm that the concept of race has to be considered in both cultural and political terms. Society has created a divide between individuals within the...

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