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Exploring The Reasons For Differences In Educational Achievement Between Different Ethnic Groups

1103 words - 4 pages

Exploring the Reasons for Differences in Educational Achievement Between Different Ethnic Groups

I believe that this is an important issue to consider as research has
shown that whilst Afro-Caribbean males are at the very bottom in terms
of achievement, West Indian females tend to do even better than white
females at GCSE. Sociologists such as Cecil Wright link educational
achievement with teacher racism and labelling whilst other
sociologists such as Charlotte Brookes link it with cultural
deprivation: issues concerned with ethnicity. Ethnic groups contain
people who share a common history, custom, identity and in most cases
language and religion. The issue of ‘differences in educational
achievement’ is regarded as ‘differential educational attainment’
which refers to the tendency for some groups to do better than others
in terms of educational success. In this essay I aim to examine
reasons that cause the differences in educational achievement and how
this links to the different ethnic groups. Evidently there is a wide
variety of ethnic groups for example; Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian,
Asian and Afro-Caribbean and I wish to centre my focus on the
educational achievement of Afro-Caribbean and Asian students.

It is evident that Afro-Caribbean pupils do not achieve as well as
other ethnic groups as in comparison at degree level, they are at the
very bottom, with Chinese at the top and Asian in the middle. I have
identified one of the main reasons for under achievement to be due to
‘Teacher racism and labelling’. It has observed that often
Afro-Caribbean boys have the label ‘unruly’ and ‘disrespectful’
applied to them as Gillborn (1990) found that teachers interpreted
their manner to be a challenge of their authority. I believe that
teacher labelling is an extremely important issue as this causes
students to be less positive towards the school and education system
as other pupils pick up on the attitudes of teachers thus causing them
in some circumstances, to be victims of racism from white pupils.
Cecil Wright 1992 noted of teacher labelling, ‘[Afro-Caribbean] hold
expectations of bad behaviour along with disapproval, punishment and
teacher insensitivity to racism’. She also affirmed that of primary
school children, Rastafarians in particular were perceived as a threat
to classroom management and often treat more harshly.

Sociologist Bernard Coard (1971) used impressionistic evidence and
personal experience to prove his hypothesis ‘The education system
makes black children become educationally subnormal by making them
feel inferior in every way’. Following his research he found that the
word white is associated with ‘good’ and the word black with ‘evil’,
especially in children’s books. Furthermore he noted that books often
only contain white people and black music, art and culture...

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