Marxists take a conflict view of education and argue that it operates as an ideological tool. It works to prepare the young proletariats into accepting their subordinate position in society without question. Through school they learn the apparent importance and natural state۪ of hierarchy, believing that school operates as a meritocracy and that those who achieve the highest grades have achieved this through hard work, intelligence and perseverance. Education legitimises the exploitation meted out by the bourgeoisie.

As a starter activity, students could listen to the lyrics of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall and watch the accompanying video above. Students could think about the lyrics and images in the video and consider how it can link to the Marxist view of education.

After a class discussion of how aspects of the Marxist view can be seen in their own school/college (for example through the setting of pupils in GCSE exams which only allow them to achieve a grade C. Perhaps this has a knock-on effect to the subjects which can be chosen at A-level), students could begin to consider criticisms of the Marxist view.

The following suggestion could then be discussed. This is the idea of enrichment vouchers for disadvantaged pupils to gain access to high culture such as the theatre, ballet and exhibitions:

Discover More How to give bright but disadvantaged kids a leg up

Links can also be made to Bourdieus work on cultural capital - an overview of which can be found here:

Discover More Pierre Bourdieu developed the cultural deprivation theory


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