Reflective Report: Social Mobility

Social Mobility with reference to my own area of teaching. The term “Social Mobility” refers to the social standing, social position in conjunction with classes and social hierarchy. Within this reflective report I will concerned the focus on Social Mobility measured alongside education. The main hub for this report refers to “vertical mobility” – movement of individuals upwards from one level to another by joining the Armed Forces: Showing that “in-School” and “out-of-school” has an impact on the Social Mobility of individuals or groups.

Factors effecting mobility are varied from economic capital, cultural capital, human capital and social capital, all of which enable social mobility to change direction. Within my role as a Military Teacher, learners embark on their future career from a varying class background; the Armed Forces draws its personnel from a broad cross section of society who have widely differing social backgrounds; educational standards and learning ability. The Armed Forces recruit from a diverse educational ability from those with university degrees to individuals with no general education.

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This has an impact upon how these very different learners view education. I will reflect on those learners that are from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower social mobility, as it is those I feel the Armed Forces have had the greater impact upon which impacts on their vertical mobility. Sociologists describe “in-school and “out-of-school” factors as the examination of differences in education beyond the confines of the school. This assists us within this report to understand why upward mobility can be achieved within the Armed Forces during their initial and on-job training. In other words, sociologists have to look both within and beyond the immediate environment of the school to explain why students do well or bad within different educational systems” (Kidd et al, 2003. Pge 240) There are many authors discussing the relationship between education and class / poverty and how the sequence of reduced or no education attainment leads to decreased opportunities in adulthood. Common themes amongst these authors are better education (in-school, out-of-school or both) can be a way to break this succession.

On further reflection this highlighted that there are several parts to this area with regards to the solution and the difference in views [on education and class] of the learner are at the centre of educational achievement and increased [or decreased] mobility. Hirsch (2007, p. 1) underlines this point: “Just 14 per cent of variation in individual’s performance is accounted for by school quality. Most variation is explained by other factors, underlining the need to look at the range of children’s experiences, inside and outside school, when seeking to raise achievement. The well intentioned 2011 strategy by the government wasn’t to increase social mobility, meaning the continual transfer of levels by all (upwards or downwards). The problem, as stated by Helen Barnard (2011) “is that people from low-income backgrounds find it extremely difficult to get a good education and a good job”. The military tackles some of this distinction by reducing the boundaries between social classes. Raffo et al (2007, p. 2) states: “If the critical perspective teaches us one thing, it is that the relationship between poverty and education is unlikely to be disturbed unless fundamental issues of power and interest, advantage and disadvantage are addressed. ” The Armed Forces reduce these boundaries by introducing them to a greater [social, human, economic, culture] capital ensuring all learners have access to the same educational environment. The difference outside of the military and classroom (families, peer groups, neighbourhoods) has a lesser influence on the learners.

For example, increased culture capital is increased in-school [within the classroom] learning about the Battle of Trafalgar and/or out-of-school onboard HMS Victory within a national museum, both areas of which increase the capital normally open to certain class groups. In turn, I also believe as the teacher, I have a responsibility to every individual on having a positive impact upon their development of positive relationships within supervising and authoritative figures; this will have secondary effects on the learner’s class standing. The learner is expected to uphold a set of core values resulting in human capital.

As highlighted by Lefrancois; Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory explains the social learning involved; as describe above individuals are taken away from their normal environment resulting in the “acquisition of patterns of behaviour that conform to social expectations-learning what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in a given culture” (2000, pge. 149 In summary, the study of mobility is the study of change for in this case those learners from a lower class background; the military goes some way to removing advantage / disadvantages thus creating a more inclusive class environment.

If the learner does achieve personal development more through the military system, I believe this will go a long way to breaking the disadvantage cycle, thus having a positive impact upon the individual’s vertical mobility. Another functionally significant aspect towards social mobility is personnel employment and the fact the individual is employed within the Armed Forces will impact on their mobility.

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