Social Class and Survival of the Quickest

The second statement ‘how well do you think you are doing in English?’ was added to the questionnaire to ascertain how many of the twenty students were aware of what they needed to do in order to make progress. The results are shown in a bar chart as below: When asked what aspects of English they do not like there was a mixed response: ‘I don’t like it when we do really high standard things’, ‘I don’t like writing unnecessary things over and over again’, ‘the writing and reading’ (this was mentioned twelve times), ‘the writing’, two students stated ‘poetry, four stated they liked everything about English. Having looked at the data for the twelve students who stated they did not like the reading and writing seven are entitled to fsm and eight are on the SEN Reg.This has made me think about the accessibility of the English curriculum in comparison to the potential ability of these students and whether by expecting high achieving students to predominantly utilise reading and writing skills whether we are negating our responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all.

 In conclusion by studying the responses from this micro study it suggests that ‘working class’ students achieve below average in contrast to their ‘middle class’ peers.Is this as Gazeley and Dunne (2005) suggest that teachers have lower expectations of working class students? I have explored the use of fsm data to investigate possible reasons for under achievement of G and T students however I now question if this is a realistic indicator as ‘FSM is a measure of household income deprivation, specifically benefit dependence, rather than occupational status’ (DfES, 2006, p.13). There are likely to be a number of families who are eligible for free school meals who may not actually claim for them including a number of middle class families who may have been made redundant or have ill health. There are so many other factors to consider when looking at empirical evidence which may affect a student’s engagement, motivation and self esteem, therefore why are schools so data driven and does this detract from delivering positive, engaging lessons which enable students to make progress?’Without a system-wide approach to nurturing giftedness and talent, system-wide underachievement occurs with this being most pronounced amongst minority populations’ (CSFC, 2010, p.16)From this study I would recommend that the English department explore alternative ways of highlighting pupils who are Gifted and Talented without relying solely on the use of data which could be deemed unreliable.

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Also, a number of students suggested that they did not like writing, yet, when looking at pupils work little evidence of marking was present. To implement an agreed format to feedback to pupils and their parents may increase motivation to present work in the written form.Pupils need to clearly know where they are at and what they need to do in order to make progress. Furthermore, teachers should consider a variety of resources suited to the needs of the more able which may excite, engage and motivate them to want to learn as ‘providing for Gifted and talented pupils in our schools is a question of equity – as with all other pupils, they have a right to an education that is suited to their particular needs and abilities’ (DCSF, 2010, p.7).ReferencesBoaler, J.

(1997), Setting, Social Class and Survival of the Quickest, British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 575-595.

Taylor & Francis Ltd. Blair, T. (1996), Labour Party Conference, 1st October 1996.  Children. Schools and Family Committee, (CSFC), (2010), The Gifted and Talented