Race, Gender and Social Class Within The School System

1875 Words8 Pages
There are certain complexities within the schooling system which are very prevalent. These include Race, Gender and Social Class. These complexities have affected the educational possibilities of some people. According to Gaine in 1995 the term ‘race’ is often put into quotation marks as it does not mean what people think it means. The key point made by Gaine is that what are often thought of as ‘races’ – Africans, Europeans, Chinese – are only superficially different from each other. Perhaps a useful working definition is ‘a group of people who may share some physical characteristic to which social importance is attached’. Ergo, ‘race’ is not the skin colour, facial features or type of hair people have, but the social significance which is placed upon these. Sex and Gender are often very hard to distinguish. The usual distinction here is that sex encompasses those features which are biologically determined and gender those which are socially determined. The World Health Organisation defines gender as ‘the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.’ To put it another way, "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. Sociologists are interested in the idea that class is about your cultural tastes and activities as well as the type and number of people you know. These factors are important when put alongside people's economic position. Understanding classes as amounts of different types of 'capitals' helps us to see class across a number of dimensions. The French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu first developed this approach in 1984, suggesting there are different types of capitals which give people an... ... middle of paper ... ...ange still has to happen. There are numerous stereotypes existing which need to be addressed in order for the same schooling experience, achievement and curriculum are experienced by each individual student regardless of their ‘Race’, Gender or Social Class. The media is a huge contributing factor in what people perceive to be the norm. Therefore, a conscious effort should be made by parents to protect their children from the huge influence that the media may have on their children at such a young age. From this essay I hope that is has been made evident that education is infused with the complexities of cultural contexts where issues such as race, gender and social class are important actors in the educational possibilities of people but also that there is a lot of room for improvement so that children can all enjoy their schooling experiences together as a whole.
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