The Cultural Capital And Success In School

1589 words - 6 pages

Every society has different ways in which they function and rank the individuals who are within that system. Historically these are based on birth (for an example the Chiefly system in Samoa, Monarch system in England). In New Zealand people are ranked according to their income like the other economically developed nations, which is known as the Capitalist Economic System. Poverty directly impacts on the economic status of an individual. The Socio Economic Class is a crucial concept to understand how the socioeconomic status can impact on the education achievement of a student. This essay focuses on the issues that are relating to Socioeconomic Class in the current New Zealand education system.

The Socio Economic Class (SEC) divides the individuals within the society intro groups depending on the capital, wealth they possess, and their access to resources. Snook and O’Neill (2010, p.4) specifies that social class “…denotes a group of people who share a common economic situation within the relations of capital production and whose group interests conflict with those of other groups.” The Socio-economic Status describes the “… patterned unequal distribution of opportunities, advantages, resources and power among subgroups of a given population” (p.4). The SEC theory in relation to education explains the capital you have or you do not have, and how it affects a student’s success at school.

The poverty within family not only impacts on the living conditions within that family, but also on a child’s education. For example children with inadequate capital backgrounds are likely to get absent from school with transient living, poor health and living conditions.

They are unable to fulfil costs for school stationary, uniforms, afford fees for extracurricular activities, events like camps or trips. These situations cause difficulties for students and their learning can be disrupted. Bishop, Berryman, Cavanagh and Teddy (2009) showed that “…major challenges facing education in New Zealand today are the continuing social, economic and political disparities within our nation, primarily between the descendants of the European colonizers and the Indigenous Maori people. These disparities are also reflected in educational outcomes” (p.1).

In comparison of students from all ethnic backgrounds in New Zealand, it has identified that Maori and Pacifica students are finding education more challenging and their achievements are disrupted with their social and economic issues. In schools the students coming from upper middle class are the most privileged group, and children of the working class are the under privileged group. The cultural capital of working class is high or sufficient for their choice of living and to fulfil their needs. They have the habitus (lifestyle, the values, the dispositions and expectations that are acquired through the activities and experiences of everyday life) required to be considered as the dominant social group and reach the...

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