Academic Failure Of Working Class Boys

4448 words - 18 pages

Academic Failure of Working Class Boys


I want to investigate the concept of the relative academic failure of
working class boys, as it is a relatively recent development that not
only reflects the under achievement of boys but academic success of
girls. My motivation has been influenced by observing a lower ability
classroom and viewing low school SATs results related to gender
indicating the academic failure of working class boys, a part of my AS
course. David Hargreaves, looked at the reasons for the failure of
working class boys and suggested one of the reasons for this was the
way in which teachers and pupils interact with each other. It is this
Interactionalist perspective that I will adopt. My aim is to find the
key factors contributing to the failure of working class boys within
Coventry schools using concepts of social class and gender. This will
inform my method which will be bas on non-participant observation of
six year 9 classes. Concepts and Context

Since the early 1990’s statistics taken from education authorities
indicated that the academic success of males has decreased, they have
been out performed by girls at most levels of the education system
with the exception of physics at A levels. More recent statistics
taken from the 1999 G.C.S.E’s indicate that more girls than boys
gained additional A*-C grades this supports my hypothesis of working
class boys academically failing.

David Hargreves’s study from 1967 “Social Relations in a Secondary
School” suggests that deviant subcultures develop as a pupil reaction
to labelling. They are predominantly found in bottom streams of
secondary schools already labelled low stream failures. They are
unable to achieve status in terms of the mainstream values of the
school so they substitute their own set of values by which they can
achieve success in the eyes of their peers. They do this by not
respecting the teachers, arriving late and messing about all build up
to academic failure. Furthermore, Hargreaves argues that many schools
fail to produce a sense of dignity for working-class pupils. These
anti school cultures are homogeneous and coherent groups. This
research is both important and relevant and has a good correlation to
my study in that it has tried to explain the fundamental factors
leading to under achievement and as stated in my rationale this is the
question that I hope to answer. However, the study is rather outdated
and simplistic, in actual fact pupils’ use a variety of adaptations,
depending upon the ways the values of the school...

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