Explain What Is Meant by Cultural Deprivation and How It May Affect Achievement?

Explain what is meant by cultural deprivation and how it may affect achievement? Cultural deprivation can be explained by a whole branch of sources for example Basil Bernstein’s speech code is one; the speech code consists of the elaborated and restricted code. The elaborated code is the middle class’ respected code whereas the restricted code is the working class’ simple non educated way of speech. These linguistic codes were said to be correlated with class differences in family organization, power and control.

The elaborated code of the middle class is institutionalized in schools. This results in ‘culturally induced backwardness’ among working-class children, this clearly affects achievement in children and makes a clear divide between middle and working class children. A study was carried out on working class children and it found that at the age of 3 they were already a whole year behind middle class children and by the age of 14, 2 years behind. These statistics are shocking and give clear evidence that cultural deprivation may affect achievement.

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Also in working class family’s immediate gratification was found to be present, unlike middle class who are taught to defer gratification which means setting long term goals and receiving the benefits some what in the near future. Immediate gratification is ‘living for the day’ and is all about setting short term aims and wanting rewards straight away rather than waiting to receive them at a future date. Working class may choose this path because they are not educated in the way middle class are and simply do not have the lifestyle or maybe parental interest?

Lack of parental interest can be the downfall of the working class and can certainly affect a Childs achievement. studies were carried out in working class homes and found lack of stimulation which is key in a Childs up bringing for success, also the number of times working class parents visited their Childs schools in comparison to the middle class parents was worrying, the comments teachers gave about parents gave a clear indication why the child may be un-achieving, because of lack of parental interest?

At the first look at things it is all well blaming cultural deprivation for a Childs un-achievement because it is simply the easiest most convenient way of putting the puzzle together until you look more deeply into things, for example, why is the victim always blamed for failure? Surely social inequality, teachers and the educational system itself has to share the blame. It is not a Childs fault that they are born into poverty, they simply an not do anything about it, and they are born with a disadvantage, which really is not fair at all. And teachers are sure to be blamed too because in schools teachers are sure to always pick and favour the middle class pupils and maybe perhaps have a tendency to leave the disruptive less able pupils to get on with their own thing. Maybe this goes on subconsciously but I am sure this happens.

But looking into things, on the other hand looking at Nell Keddies claims and theory ‘The myth of cultural deprivation’ it all makes sense. Keddie states that working class culture is different not deficient. This makes sense they are just not meant to live in each others cultures so in theory schools are very bias towards middle class since they take the middle class culture approach but I suppose it is only a theory, but if this is true society as a whole needs to stop moulding the working class into something they are not.

But this is a theory and are many others with valid arguments and criticisms such as Blackstone and Mortimore (1994); they argue that the working class as a whole lack the key knowledge and educational skills to pass on to their children, they are found not to be interested in their children school life and it is rare to see them at parents evenings, they simply do not like the atmosphere of middle class society. Material deprivation is another very common theory, this is when working class families just do not have the basic resources in their households e. g. ooks, computers, printers etc. This may be simple but it is found to leave children behind. On the other hand a strong theory of Pupil subcultures are said to play a part in the lack of achievement in children. A pupil subculture is a group of pupils who share similar values and behaviour patterns. Pupil subcultures often emerge as a response to the way pupils have been labelled which is a completely different thing. But in particular it is a reaction to streaming. For example a number of studies have shown how pupil subcultures may play a part in creating class differences in achievement.

We can use Colin Laceys (1970) concepts of differentiation and polarisation to explain how pupil subcultures develop. Differentiation is the process of teachers categorising pupils according to how they perceive their ability, attitude or behaviour. Polarisation is the process in which pupils respond to streaming by moving towards one of two opposite ‘poles’ or extremes. In conclusion I think that cultural deprivation does indeed reflect on a Childs lack of achievement (compared to the national average) but there are also many other factors in which I have stated above.

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