Just Sociology

Ethnicity Education & Inequality: Factors Affecting Minority Student Achievement

Ethnicity and educational achievement have been longstanding issues that have attracted the attention of researchers for decades. Many scholars have studied the factors that contribute to disparities in attainment among minority groups.

In this article, we will explore two main topics related to this issue. The first topic will focus on ethnicity and educational achievement in relation to in-school and home factors.

The second topic will focus on teacher labelling and ethnicity by examining existing studies and highlighting the challenges that come with such research.

1) Ethnicity and Educational Achievement

Disparities in educational achievement among minority groups have been a prevailing issue in society. Many researchers have established that in-school and home factors have a significant impact on the academic outcomes of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

1.1 In-School Factors

Teacher labelling, institutional racism, and pupil subcultures have been identified as factors that affect the educational achievement of minority students. Labelling refers to the practice where teachers attach a label to a student based on their ethnic background, social class, or perceived ability.

Such labels often have a significant impact on a student’s future academic outcomes, as they can influence the expectations of the teacher and the student’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Institutional racism, on the other hand, refers to the systemic and structural inequalities that are embedded in educational institutions.

The disadvantageous treatment of minority students in the educational system is often perpetuated by systemic practices that reproduce and amplify racial inequalities. Furthermore, pupil subcultures, which are groups of students who share similar values, attitudes, and behavior patterns, can have an impact on academic outcomes.

For example, a group of students that place a high value on sports may engage less in their studies than others who prioritize academic excellence. 1.2 Home Factors

Studies have also shown that home factors play a significant role in determining the academic outcomes of minority students.

One significant issue is single-parent households, which are more prevalent among minority groups. Children from single-parent households often face unique challenges that can impact their academic performance, such as a lack of financial resources and emotional support.

Gangsta culture is another home factor that has been linked to low academic achievement among some minority students. Gangsta culture refers to a subculture that glorifies violence, crime, and hyper-masculinity, among other things.

Children who grow up in such environments are often exposed to harmful values that can become barriers to their academic success. Tiger parenting, which is common in some Asian communities, is a home factor that is also relevant to this issue.

Tiger parenting refers to a strict form of parenting where parents are highly involved in their children’s academic progress and put enormous pressure on them to excel. Although tiger parenting has been linked to high academic achievement, it can also have negative effects on children’s emotional well-being.

2) Teacher Labelling and Ethnicity

Existing studies have shown that teacher labelling affects the academic outcomes of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Cecile Wright and David Gilborn, two prominent researchers in this field, have conducted extensive research on this issue.

2.1 Studies on Teacher Labelling

Cecile Wright conducted research on the effects of teacher labelling on Afro-Caribbean students in the United Kingdom. Her findings suggest that teacher labelling plays a significant role in determining the academic progress of such students.

She argues that labelling creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, where students who are labeled negatively are often treated differently and given fewer opportunities to learn, which ultimately affects their academic achievement. David Gilborn also conducted research on teacher labelling and ethnic differences in educational performance.

His findings suggest that teachers are more likely to label black students negatively than their white counterparts. He argues that this is due to institutional racism in the educational system, which means that teachers have unconscious biases that affect their attitudes and expectations towards different ethnic groups.

2.2 Issues with Studies

Although studies on teacher labelling and ethnicity have contributed significantly to the understanding of this issue, they are not without challenges. For example, many studies rely on small sample sizes, which can limit the generalizability of their findings.

Additionally, much of the research in this area is dated, and more recent research is needed to establish the current state of teacher labelling and ethnic disparities in educational achievement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the issue of ethnicity and educational achievement is complex, and there are various factors that affect the academic outcomes of minority students. In-school factors such as teacher labelling, institutional racism, and pupil subcultures, as well as home factors such as single-parent households, gangsta culture, and tiger parenting, all contribute to these disparities.

Existing studies on teacher labelling and ethnicity have provided valuable insights into this issue but are not without their limitations. Nonetheless, we must continue to address this issue and strive towards a more equitable and just educational system for all students, regardless of their ethnic background.

3) Institutional Racism in Schools

Institutional racism in schools is a prevalent issue that affects the educational outcomes of minority students. This form of racism is systemic in nature and often goes unnoticed, making it challenging to address.

In this section, we will examine three subtopics related to institutional racism in schools: ethnocentric curriculum, banding and streaming, and evidence of discrimination. 3.1 Ethnocentric Curriculum

An ethnocentric curriculum is one that reflects the values and beliefs of the white majority culture, often at the expense of minority groups.

This type of curriculum is prevalent in many schools and can have a significant impact on the educational outcomes of minority students. One example of an ethnocentric curriculum is the teaching of British history, which tends to focus on the achievements of white men rather than the contributions of minority groups.

This can result in minority students feeling alienated and disengaged from their studies, which can ultimately affect their academic achievement. Furthermore, racially stereotyped textbooks can contribute to an ethnocentric curriculum.

Many textbooks contain stereotypes and inaccuracies about minority groups, perpetuating harmful racial narratives. This can have a profound impact on minority students’ self-esteem and academic motivation.

3.2 Banding and Streaming

Banding and streaming are practices commonly used in schools to group students based on their academic abilities. However, these practices can often result in minority students being placed in lower sets, where they are written off and receive a lower quality of education than their peers in higher sets.

This form of discrimination is prevalent and can have a long-lasting impact on the life chances of minority students. Studies have shown that exclusion rates tend to be higher among students who are placed in lower sets, particularly among black students.

Furthermore, students in lower sets often receive less educational support, which can result in lower academic achievement and a disengagement from education. 3.3 Evidence of Discrimination

Evidence of discrimination in schools is widespread, with many studies indicating that black applicants are disadvantaged when applying for teaching positions.

Studies have shown that trainee-history teachers often hold stereotypical views about black students, resulting in them being treated unfairly or dismissed due to their ethnicity. Furthermore, teachers themselves may also be subject to discrimination.

Black teachers are often underrepresented, which can impact their career progression and leave them feeling isolated and unsupported within educational institutions. As a result, minority students may lack positive role models or be exposed to limited cultural perspectives.

4) Pupil Subcultures and Ethnicity

Pupil subcultures are groups of students who share similar values, attitudes, and behavior patterns that distinguish them from others in the school environment. Many studies have examined the impact of pupil subcultures on the academic outcomes of minority students.

In this section, we will explore two subtopics related to pupil subcultures and ethnicity: studies on pupil subcultures and ethnicity, and the limited significance today. 4.1 Studies on Pupil Subcultures and Ethnicity

Tony Sewell, Fordham and Ogbu, and Mac an Ghail are prominent researchers who have conducted studies on pupil subcultures and ethnicity.

Sewell argues that black boys are faced with a cultural dislocation in schools, which results in low achievement levels. He suggests that schools must do more to recognize and respond to black boys’ cultural experiences and create a supportive and nurturing environment.

Fordham and Ogbu suggest that some minority students develop oppositional cultures as a response to being disenfranchised within the educational system. This oppositional culture often manifests as an adherence to negative stereotypes, such as gangsta culture, as a way of resisting the dominant white culture in schools.

Mac an Ghail’s research suggests that within certain subcultures, such as the black Caribbean subculture, academic achievement is regarded as not “cool” and that boys who perform well academically may be ridiculed by their peers. 4.2 Limited Significance Today

There is limited significance to pupil subcultures in today’s educational system, as students from diverse ethnic backgrounds are generally more integrated into mainstream British society and culture.

With improvements in the representation of minority groups in educational materials, minority students can better relate to and engage with the curriculum. However, challenges remain, and schools must do more to ensure that minority students’ unique cultural experiences are recognized and valued in the educational environment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, institutional racism in schools is a pervasive issue that affects the educational outcomes of minority students. Ethnocentric curriculum, banding and streaming, and evidence of discrimination all contribute to the problem, making it challenging to address.

Studies on pupil subcultures and ethnicity have highlighted the impact of pupil subcultures on academic outcomes, but this issue is of limited significance today. Nonetheless, we must continue to address these issues and create a more nurturing and supportive educational environment for all students, regardless of their ethnic background.

5) Evaluation – Home Factors

Home factors have been identified as a significant contributor to differences in educational achievement among minority students. In this section, we will examine three subtopics related to home factors: agreement on home factors, the importance of tiger parenting, and the narrow focus on African-Caribbean underachievement.

5.1 Agreement on Home Factors

There is broad agreement among scholars that home factors play a significant role in determining academic outcomes. Class and gender have been identified as important determinants of educational achievement, with students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and girls often achieving lower outcomes than their counterparts.

Moreover, research suggests that schools are accountable for only 10% of differences in achievement, highlighting the significant impact of home factors on academic outcomes. This has led to a focus on the importance of family support and resources, such as access to educational materials and parental involvement in their child’s academic progress.

5.2 Importance of Tiger Parenting

Tiger parenting, which is common in some Asian communities, has been shown to have a significant impact on academic achievement. Studies have shown that Chinese pupils who experience tiger parenting achieve excellent academic results.

Despite criticisms of the approach, including concerns about children’s mental health and emotional well-being, it remains prevalent in some communities. Tiger parenting focuses on a child’s academic progress, with parents placing high levels of demands and expectations on their children.

While such an approach may not be appropriate or effective for all students, a strong emphasis on parental involvement and support is crucial for all students to achieve their full potential. 5.3 Narrow Focus on African-Caribbean Underachievement

The focus on African-Caribbean underachievement has been narrow, with little attention given to other communities that similarly underachieve in the educational system.

For example, Gypsy Roma students are persistently academically disadvantaged, with a low attendance rate that often leads to underachievement. Focusing solely on African-Caribbean underachievement while ignoring similar disparities experienced by other communities can create a skewed understanding of the factors contributing to differences in educational achievement.

6)

Conclusion

In conclusion, home factors have been shown to outweigh in-school factors in determining differences in educational achievement among minority students. While schools must assume a significant level of responsibility in supporting the academic progress of minority students, family support and resources remain crucial determinants of overall academic success.

Furthermore, issues of race in the educational system are complex and multifaceted. Differences in achievement must be examined through a class lens, with attention given to the impact of socio-economic and family factors on academic outcomes.

Failure to consider these factors can lead to a simplified understanding of educational disparities. Overall, research highlights the need for a holistic approach to addressing educational disparities that recognizes the significant impact of home factors and the need to involve parents and families in supporting the academic progress of minority students.

In conclusion, this article has highlighted the complex issues surrounding ethnicity and educational achievement, specifically focusing on in-school and home factors, teacher labeling, institutional racism, and pupil subcultures. Furthermore, it has examined the significance of ethnocentric curriculum, banding and streaming, and the importance of acknowledging home factors such as tiger parenting, class, and gender.

The article concludes by emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to addressing educational disparities that recognizes the significant impact of family support and resources on academic success, and the importance of involving parents and families in supporting the academic progress of minority students.

FAQs:

1.

What are the in-school factors that affect educational achievement for minority students? In-school factors include teacher labeling, institutional racism, and pupil subcultures.

2. What are the home factors that affect educational achievement for minority students?

Home factors include single-parent households, gangster culture, and tiger parenting. 3.

How do teacher labeling and ethnicity intersect in educational achievement? Teachers tend to label black students negatively, resulting in lower academic expectations and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4. Why is family support important in determining academic achievement?

Home factors are significant contributors to differences in academic achievement, with family support and resources being crucial for academic success. 5.

Is tiger parenting seen as an effective approach to achieving academic success? Although tiger parenting has been shown to produce excellent academic results among Chinese pupils, it is not appropriate for all students and can have negative effects on children’s emotional well-being.

6. Are African-Caribbean students the only minority group that is academically disadvantaged?

No, other communities such as Gypsy Roma students also experience persistent academic disadvantage, highlighting the need for a more holistic understanding of educational disparities.

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