As of late I've really started to get interested in educational issues, specifically with a sociological basis, as I really enjoyed the Education module of my Sociology A-Level.
I've been reading a book called Education and Society, and I came across the External vs. Internal debate.
Basically, this is to do with whether educational problems, and essentially, inequality
is caused by factors IN- or OUTside -of the the school.
The Externalist approach says that the causes of inequality are:
- innate differences between in groups in terms of IQ/cognitive ability
- maternal deprivation
- cultural deprivation (general lack of literacy and knowledge to effectively deal with schools)
- social differences in degrees of educational motivation and social aspirations
- a lack of cultural capital (a desire to achieve, be motivated, etc)
This approach says that there's NOTHING wrong with the actual schools OR the quality of teaching - all the problems are caused outside of the school gates.
The Internalist approach, however, (no prizes for guessing) states that all the problems originate in the school, for instance the organisation of the system, which reflects and reproduces divisions, and social biases in the curriculum (teacher expectations, labelling students, self-fulfilling prophecy).
Surely it's impossible to take one side exclusively, but do you think certain factors, in- or outside- of school are more important/effective on childrens' achievement and asymmetries between groups in terms of ethnicity/class/gender?
(I hope the above makes sense.. I do tend to post a bit, but I just want somewhere to be able to discuss these kinds of things!)