Cultural deprivation is the theory that many working class and black children are inadequately socialised and therefore lack the “right” culture needed for educational needs. There are two factors to this; internal and external. The internal factors consist of factors within education such as pupils, teachers and inequality between schools. The external factors are outside the education system.
There are three main aspects to cultural deprivation. The first is intellectual development; this is the student’s development of thinking and reasoning skills and the ability to solve problems. Many working class children lack educational books and activities to stimulate intellectual development. Douglas (1964) found that working class boys scored lower on their ability test than middle class boys. He argues that working class parents are less likely to support their children’s intellectual development through reading at home. This could lead to under achievement because it means from a very young age working class children are behind already.
Secondly, Bernstein (1975) looked at the difference in language between working class and middle class students. He developed two types of speech codes. One was the restricted code, this consists of a limited vocabulary with short unfinished grammar, and speech would be predicable they may even gesture instead (slang, street language.) The other code is the elaborate code this is typically used by middle class people; it has a wider vocabulary and is based on longer structured sentences. This would lead to under achievement because the language used in schools and in test papers tend to be in the elaborate code, so middle class people are again at an advantage.
Finally, attitudes and values, Feinstein (1998) found that working class parents “lack of interest” was the main reason for their children’s under achievement at school. Middle class children are more successful because they are provided with the necessary...