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Nadege Preston

Nadege Preston


Total Article : 82

About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!

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Racism/discrimination and how it affects the achievement of pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds

Racism/discrimination and how it affects the achievement of pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds

Although the previous article argued that teachers had a big impact on pupils’ underachievement, it is necessary to highlight the fact that not all pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds let discrimination affect their education. This fact is supported by Mary Fuller who studied a group of black girls in a London comprehensive school. Fuller states that girls didn’t seek the approval of teachers and relied on their own efforts. They also stayed friends with black girls from lower streams, though they received no help due to the educational triage. This way, they avoided racism from teachers as much as possible and consequently maintained a positive self-image. This study highlights that pupils may still succeed even if they refuse to conform, and that negative labelling doesn’t always lead to failure.


Another major internal factor affecting the achievements of pupils from ethnic backgrounds is other pupils’ attitudes towards them. Bullying has great negative impacts on education, as it lowers pupils’ self-esteem and may stop the pupils from going to school. In addition, the non-white pupils may peer pressure each other into giving up and creating an anti-school subculture. However, pupils from any background may be bullied or peer pressured during their school lives, therefore it shouldn’t cause them to underachieve.


The last internal factor to consider is that the curriculum the pupils followed, and the textbooks  used were discriminating against pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds. The ethnocentric curriculum focused on middle-class whites and disregarded any other backgrounds. Also, white people were portrayed as better than other ethnic backgrounds in books used for school. This is supported by Bernard Coard who claims that the British education system makes black children become educationally subnormal by making them feel “inferior in every way.” His study proves that pupils were taught that ‘white’ is associated with good and ‘black’ is associated with evil, which is evidently discriminating against those non-white pupils within classes. The content of the education children receive was also seen to be discriminating, as it ignores black people and focuses on white people. This makes black people within the classroom feel inferior, which is emphasised through black people shown as servants, whereas white people are shown as heroes. Therefore, black pupils may develop a low self image which causes underachievement as they develop low expectations of themselves.


On the other hand, not all pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds would develop a low self image as Indian and Chinese pupils do the best in education. This means that racism and discrimination does not affect all non-white pupils. However, Bangladeshi and Pakistani pupils do worse in education therefore some groups are affected by racism more than others. 



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