Race and Ethnicity a Methodological Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2546 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race


Gillborn observed that the interaction between African Caribbean students and their teachers was of a major qualitative concern, as ethnographers have attempted to previously chart the ways in which black students respond to and react on their school experiences in ways that affect their performance in school and as civic adults. (Gillborn, 1999, p. 7) Black students, he says, are generally associated with behavioral qualities at odds with the expectations and needs of the school, not only as a unit where one student learns but as a place where many children come and, when acting under the same social mores, can all learn together. Historically, the African Caribbean population of Britain has been forced into letting most of its children go to special schools, ones meant to serve those with emotional, learning, social, or behavioral problems. (Tomlinson 1981.) These schools, a sort o ethnic clearinghouse of the British academic system, were the alternative the other popularly occurring action: "permanent exclusion," or expulsion. (Gillborn, 1999, p. 7) This fact is particularly frightening in light of the data suggesting that less than one and three students are likely to return to education following a permanent exclusion, putting at risk not only the child as an individual, but also forcing a youth into the adult world outside of school without the knowledge and skill sets to do well there. Gillborn says, "even where [African Caribbeans] share the same classroom as other students, teachers' beliefs and actions can be such that African Caribbean young people do not enjoy equal opportunities to succeed." (Gillborn, 1999, p. 7.)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Race & Ethnicity a Methodological Assignment

This poor level of performance and high level of exclusion is matched by disproportionate levels of tension and conflict between teachers and students, particularly inside the African Caribbean demographic. Gillborn highlights the fact that ethnographic data serving this hypothesis exists not only in one moment in time, but is a fact of research form the 1970s through the 1990s. (Gillborn, 1999, p. 8.) In many cases, white teachers blamed the black youth for the publicly perceived decline in school standards and achievement behavior, demonstrating "the degree to which teacher student relations could deteriorate." (Wright, 1986.) The problems that existed between teachers and students for the past fifty years remained true still recently, and Gillborn correlates the tension to the public misconception about the facts pertaining to immigration. Despite the lack of evidence to support it, and the many attempts of sociologists and politicians to acquire it, "teachers believed that African Caribbean students, as a group, presented a greater threat to the classroom order and their personal safety." (Gillborn, 1999, p. 8.)

Throughout his scholarly work, Gillborn goes through stories, student by student, one story at a time, to not only present the anecdotal evidence supporting this problem, but also to note the damning nature of the policies with which the teachers dealt and the personal ideologies, reflective of the larger beliefs of Britain, at play in them. He critiqued both the teachers and legislators for a system allowing a feasibility for systematic prejudice, particularly at this moment in time, that not only isolated a particular ethnic demographic publicly unpopular, but took it at its most nascent phase -- impressionable youth -- and misrepresented it. Because of the perceived threat posed by the African Caribbean students, teachers expected more trouble and were harsher in their dealings with these students. "Consequently, well-intentioned and committed teachers came to recreate familiar patterns of control and conflict with African Caribbean students." (Gillborn, 1999, p. 8.)

The refusal of the British government to directly address policy to the ethnic and racial discrimination occurring in the school systems worsened not only the system, but also the lives of millions of children, Gillborn concludes. Unlike the direct and explicit policy of American schools to address these demographic discrepancies, the British system, instead, amorphously moved around the issue, approaching it with a meta-interest that extended no further than a special group appointed to address multicultural education in the National Curriculum. This work, however, was never published. (Tomlinson 1991.) Gillborn critiques the government for its construction of not only its system but its attainment of education reforms as well, which he says that, without ever actually addressing race, clearly construct a particular version of a nation, its heritage, and traditions, excluding any real debate over the treatment and forecast for specific groups. (Gillborn, 1999, pg. 14.)

As a result of political neglect, Gillborn concludes that students of racial and ethnic diversity remain a marginal concern at the national level in schools and are still systematically excluded from their own schools. He gives a hopeless forecast for the future, ultimately, implying that the increasing concern amongst teachers about social justice and equality issues are still at popular odds with the social concerns of the people. Ultimately, his thoughtful intellectual tackling of the treatment of specific ethnic and racial groups, as epitomized by the struggles of the African Caribbean youth, is too powerfully rationed and evidentially supported to be ignored. The real question he leaves remaining is to the nature of his address and at whom it is focused; ultimately, policy makers, educators, academics, and students should be well-versed in it, if any of the systematic failure he addresses should change.

Adelman, L. 2005. A Long History of Racial Preference -- for Whites. Part of the Public Broadcasting System's new program, Race -- The Power of an Illusion.

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Ball, S.J. 1987. The Micro-politics of the School: Towards a Theory of School Organization. (London, Methuen.)

Anonymous, 2000. The Guardian, 28 January.

Gillborn, David.

1995. Racism and Antiracism in Real Schools. Theory. Policy. Practice. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

1996. Culture, Colour, Power, and Racism. Patterns of Prejudice 30(1):22-27.

1999. Fifty Years of Failure: 'Race' and Education Policy in Britain. In A. Hayton (ed.), Tackling Disaffection and Social Exclusion: Issues for Education Policy. London: Kogan Page.

Hickman, Mary J. 1993. "Integration or Segregation? The Education of the Irish in Britain in Roman Catholic Voluntary-Aided Schools." The British Journal of Sociology of Education. 14(3): 285-300.

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