Inequalities in Australian Schooling Essay

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Inequalities in Australian Schooling: Sociocultural Factors in terms of Cultural Capital, Habitus and Social Reproduction There is a common, underlying perception that students from particular cultural and linguistic backgrounds – what is generally referred to as ethnicity - have a predisposition towards educational success in Australian schools (Watkins, 2013). Students from Anglo backgrounds, for example, are often seen as having a cultural advantage whilst others, such as Middle Eastern students, are perceived as culturally prone to underachievement. These claims confine ethnicity to fixed and bound stereotypes, and see educational achievement as a result of the inherent qualities of these groups (Watkins, 2013). However, ethnicity…show more content…
In fact, studies indicated that Indigenous Australians are significantly behind non-indigenous Australians in academic achievement (Bradley, Draca, Green & Leeves, 2006). Geographical remoteness, socioeconomic status and indigenous ethnicity and culture have a major influence on educational success for Indigenous students. An example of this can be seen in rural indigenous communities where indigenous economic systems are still used, forcing a gap in terms of both geographical location and socioeconomic status (Altman, 2008). As a result of this gap, Indigenous students from these areas are not able to obtain the same level of education as students living in urban settings where colonial economic systems are recognised (Altman, 2008). These socio-cultural factors construct a specific cultural capital for indigenous students that is not widely recognised in Australian schools as it is not the dominant capital presented in Western education environments. Ultimately, this leaves indigenous students, specifically those in geographically remote locations or of a socioeconomic status that doesn’t allow a broader range of options, at an educational disadvantage. Ethnicity, geographical location and socioeconomic status play an important role in the construction of one’s cultural capital and, as a consequence, one’s ability to obtain educational success in Australian schools. As individuals build their distinctive habitus– the
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