Middle Class: non-manual labour. For example, doctors and teachers which are under a professional manner. ‘White-collar’ workers.
Working Class: manual labour. For example, plumbers, electricians, waitresses and lorry drivers (skilled) and unskilled work such as bin collectors.
Explaining Class Differences:
Children from middle class families tend to perform better than those in working class households. Tis gap grows wider as the children get older proven by the fact that at GCSE, students from a middle class family tend to do significantly better than those from a working class family. These high performers also tend to go to further education and university whereas the working class students often went straight into manual employment.
There are internal and external factors that account for class differences within state education, they are:
1. Internal: Interactions between students and teachers within a classroom.
2. External: Influence from the family, or those the student interacts with outside of school.
-Cultural Deprivation theorists suggest that working class families fail to socialise their children in the correct way from the off which accounts for them being culturally deprived and not having the ability to achieve as high as others. There are three main factors that affect this:
1) Intellectual Development: Theorists argue that working class families lack the basic resources (books and educational activities) needed for their child to develop. These children therefore start school without the intellectual skills needed to progress. J.W.B Douglas (1964) found that working class students scored lower than middle class students on their mid-term exams and said this was down to the working class parents being less likely to support their child’s intellectual development through activities such as reading with them or playing at home. Bernstein and Young (1967) found that mothers think about the toys and books the child has depending on their background. Middle class mothers are more likely to choose those with educational benefit whereas working class mothers tend to go for those with entertaining values.
-Bereiter and Siegfried (1966) claim that the language used in lower-class homes in not sufficient because they tend to use one word phrases, gestures and disjointed phrases. This causes them to grow up without abstract thinking and unable to use language to describe, explain, enquire or complain. This causes them to be unable to take advantage of the offers schools give. Additionally, Bernstein (1975) identified differences between working class and middle class achievements through the two types of speech code:
1) THE RESTRICTED CODE: (working class) Limited Vocabulary – short, unfinished, grammatically incorrect sentences. Speech is predictable and usually involves only a single word, or even simply a gesture. Descriptive not analytic. Contest bound – meaning the speaker assumes the listener shares the same set of experiences.
2) THE ELABORATED CODE: (middle class) Wider Vocabulary – long, completed, grammatically complex sentences. Speech is varied and more abstract ideas are communicated. More analytic language is used and the speaker does not assume that the listener shares the same experiences so empathises with them so they both understand. This divide puts the working class at a disadvantage because the elaborated code is what is used by teachers, textbooks and in exams because it is seen as the correct way to write and in Bernstein’s view, it’s more effective for analysis and deeper understanding. Early understanding of the elaborated code means that children are more likely to understand this way of speech when they start school because they are more used to seeing it and using it. Bernstein recognises that it’s not just the home that influences the cultural deprivation but also the school because