Just Sociology

The Impact of Status Hierarchies & Anti-school Subcultures in Schools

Schools play a significant role in shaping the future of individuals through education. It is where students develop socially, culturally, and mentally.

However, the establishment of status hierarchies is a common phenomenon in schools, which can significantly affect the learning experience of students. Therefore, this article aims to explore two main topics that focus on schools and status.

The first topic focuses on the characteristics used to assign status to pupils and their impact on them. The second topic delves into the formation of anti-school subcultures and their development in schools.

Schools and Status

Characteristics used to assign status to pupils

Schools assign status to pupils based on various characteristics such as perceived ability, behaviour, attitude, class, gender, and ethnicity. These characteristics create a hierarchy of popularity, which can impact a student’s social standing and their interactions with others.

Perceived ability is one of the most significant factors affecting status. Students who are perceived as academically strong are often popular and have higher status, while those perceived as academically weak remain on the lower rungs of the status ladder.

Behaviour and attitude are also significant factors influencing a student’s status. Those who exhibit appropriate behaviour and positive attitudes are considered more popular than those who display negative behaviours and have negative attitudes.

Class, gender, and ethnicity are other factors that influence pupil status in schools. Students from upper-middle-class families often have higher status than those from lower-income families.

Similarly, male students often enjoy higher status than female students, and white students enjoy higher status than students from racial minorities. These factors are often the results of societal and cultural biases that affect the perceptions of teachers and students.

Treatment of pupils with higher status

According to studies, students with higher status enjoy more positive feelings about school and are more likely to do well academically. Teachers assign better grades and show more favouritism towards high-status students.

Additionally, students with higher status are often appointed to leadership positions in schools, leading to more opportunities that enhance their skills and abilities. They may also receive mentorship and guidance from teachers due to their higher status, resulting in continued academic success.

Concerns of pupils more focused on friends’ opinions

Peer influence is a crucial factor in the lives of students, particularly for those who prioritize their friends’ opinions over those of their teachers or parents. Students who are more concerned about their friends’ opinions often prioritize social status over academic success.

This can result in a decline in their performance in school, social exclusion, and feelings of low self-worth. The negative impact of peer influence on students’ academic success and mental health has been explored in various studies.

Formation of Anti-school Subcultures

Hargreaves’ argument about streaming pupils

Hargreaves argues that the streaming of pupils in schools results in the formation of subcultures. Hargreaves suggests that pupils who are labelled as trouble-makers and streamed into lower academic groups receive negative labels, such as ‘worthless louts’ in secondary schools.

This creates feelings of disconnection and resentment towards the school system, leading them to form anti-school subcultures.

Creation of subcultures through inverted values

Anti-school subcultures often form through the inversion of traditional values. Such subcultures tend to idolize the rejection of academic achievement, not following homework, cheating, and breaking school rules.

They often promote an attitude of conspicuous non-compliance, where breaking the rules is a way of demonstrating one’s resistance to authority. Subcultures form when students feel that the rules and traditional values imposed by the school system do not represent their values or goals.

Treatment and development of different subcultures

Different subcultures receive varying degrees of treatment and development. Subcultures that embody pro-school values such as working hard and good behaviour tend to receive more favourable treatments from teachers and peers.

Students who demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviours are assigned to higher academic groups, leading to educational success. In contrast, subcultures that do not follow traditional school values may experience negative attitudes, disciplinary actions, marginalization, and peer rejection.

The polarisation of pupils into subcultures perpetuates an ‘us vs them’ mentality, leading to further conflicts and resentment among students. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the establishment of status hierarchies and anti-school subcultures in schools has a significant impact on the experiences and outcomes of students.

This article has explored the characteristics used to assign status to pupils and their impact, the formation of anti-school subcultures through the inversion of traditional values, and the treatment and development of different subcultures. Understanding these factors is crucial in addressing the issues of status hierarchies and anti-school subcultures in schools and promoting a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for all students.

Expansion:

Formation of Pro-school Subcultures

Labelling in the classroom

Labelling in the classroom involves attaching definitions to students based on their academic performance, perceived abilities, and external factors such as their social background, previous performance in school or behaviour. Labelling can lead to students being referred to as bright, high achiever, or low achiever, for example.

In some cases, labels are not simply descriptions but rather carry with them value judgments that can have long-lasting effects. Labels that carry negative connotations can be extremely damaging to a student’s self-esteem and limit their potential while labels that carry positive connotations can motivate students and encourage them to achieve their full potential.

In addition to graded levels of performance, some researchers have identified the use of elaborated language code which is tailored to describe academic achievement. This language code may further distinguish those who are better at using this code by innately appearing more intelligent.

Positive effects of labelling on subculture formation

While labelling can have negative effects, it can also be a powerful tool in the formation of pro-school subcultures. Pro-school subcultures are groups of students who identify strongly with the school and its values, particularly those relating to academic achievement.

Students who are labelled as high achievers, for example, may become members of a subculture focused on academic success. Mixing with similarly labelled peers may lead to the development of social networks to support school-related activities such as working hard and good behaviour.

Members of pro-school subcultures are often favoured by teachers, who may spend more time with them and provide greater support. Students in these groups may receive more opportunities for academic and leadership development, as teachers recognize and reward their achievements.

This phenomenon can translate into academic success: students in higher academic groups typically achieve better educational outcomes than their peers because of their advantageous labelling.

Strategies for Answering 10-Mark Questions

Importance of linking different sections of the item

One of the best practices for answering 10-mark questions is to link the different sections of the item together. 10-mark questions are designed to test the depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the examiner.

As such, it is important to ensure that each section of the item is addressed in the answer. For example, if the question asks about the formation of anti-school subcultures, it is important to address both how subcultures form and why they are anti-school.

Failure to link different sections of the item together may result in marks being lost or a ‘nit-picking’ approach by the examiner.

Use of differentiation through multiple subtopics

Differentiation can be used through multiple subtopics to address the different aspects of the question. In practice, differentiation involves breaking down complex ideas into smaller, more manageable parts.

For example, in answering a question about the formation of anti-school subcultures, the subtopics such as streaming, labelling, and external factors can be used to address the different aspects of the question. This approach allows the answer to demonstrate a wider range of knowledge, critical thinking, and analysis, and as such, is more likely to receive higher marks.

Other helpful resources for revision and exam preparation

While strategies for answering 10-mark questions are important when it comes to exam preparation, there are other helpful resources that students can use to prepare for exams. Revision notes, for example, provide a concise summary of key ideas, definitions, and concepts.

Mind maps are graphical representations of concepts, ideas or topics and can be useful in organizing and summarising study material. Exam practice questions and model answers can also help build confidence and improve performance in exams, while essay templates provide a structure for writing good quality essays.

Utilising these resources alongside strategies for answering 10-mark questions can help students perform to the best of their abilities in exams.

Conclusion:

This article has explored two main topics, the formation of pro-school and anti-school subcultures in schools, and strategies for answering 10-mark questions.

In each of the main topics, several subtopics were identified, and the relevant keywords were outlined. Exploring these topics will help students to better understand the importance of social standing in schools, and how they can maximise their grades in exams by using appropriate revision techniques and strategies for answering questions.

By applying these practices, students can heighten their academic performance and increase their overall outcomes. In conclusion, this article has explored various topics related to schools and status, the formation of anti-school and pro-school subcultures, and strategies for answering 10-mark questions.

It has highlighted the importance of status in schools and how it can affect academic outcomes, the factors that contribute to the formation of subcultures, and how students can maximise their grades in exams. By understanding these concepts, students and educators can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment that benefits all.

FAQs:

1. What factors contribute to pupil status in schools?

Pupil status in schools can be influenced by several factors such as perceived ability, behaviour, attitude, class, gender, and ethnicity. 2.

What is the impact of peer influence on students’ academic success? Peers can have a significant impact on students’ academic success, particularly those who prioritize their friends’ opinions over those of their teachers or parents.

This can result in a decline in academic performance, social exclusion, and feelings of low self-worth. 3.

How can labelling be both positive and negative on the formation of subcultures? Labelling can be both positive and negative on the formation of subcultures.

Negative labels may lead to the formation of anti-school subcultures, while positive labels can foster the development of pro-school subcultures. 4.

What are some helpful revision resources for exam preparation? Helpful revision resources for exam preparation include revision notes, mind maps, exam practice questions, model answers, and essay templates.

5. How can students maximise their grades in exams?

Students can maximise their grades in exams by using appropriate revision techniques, answering questions thoroughly, and linking different sections of the item together. Additionally, the use of differentiation through multiple subtopics can help demonstrate a wider range of knowledge and analysis.

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