The impact of Socio-economic, Cultural and Personal Background, Work History and Educational Achievement on learners.

A learner’s socio-economic, cultural and personal background will have a significant impact on their education, including the aspirations, needs and decision-making process. A very large number (approximately one in five) of families within the UK are deemed to live in poverty, research has shown people who live in poverty face daily challenges that affluent children do not encounter. This can adjust the decision-making process as suboptimal conditions are considered the norm which can undermine their school performance. Students that grow up in strong economic times are more likely to be risk-oriented and optimistic in relation to their education and profession. (HAZRI, 2014)The level of education a student’s parents possess has a significant impact on the student’s level of education. The ONS (Office for National Statistics) states that people are 7.5 times more likely to have a low educational outcome if their father has a low level of education, compared with a highly educated father.

A person’s culture is the combination of the behaviours, beliefs and values that are accepted as normal by a group of people, these cultural attributes are passed down through generations by imitation, as a result they can have a significant impact on a person’s education. An example of how culture can have a significant impact is “students may come from a home in which children are told to be seen and not heard, so speaking up and participating in class seems wrong to them.” (Pusey, 2018)

An aspect that I feel strongly about is the assumption that students will have internet access at home, homework is very often delivered and accessed through the use of Apps and education portals. The alternative method is frequently that students can access the content in the library but this is still penalising students who now must travel in order to access homework resources. Another related aspect is the introduction of iPads within the classes, immediately giving the wealthier students an advantage due to not having to adjust to a new technology. This also extends to students whose parents can afford the purchase of an iPad but do not want their children using devices of this kind. Both of these examples demonstrate how a student’s parent’s income and culture can have an impact on their education. Students that have been in work for an extended period of time may struggle to adjust to an educational setting; this is why it is important to approach these students with an andragogy approach. This adjustment can be an even bigger challenge for students that are working alongside their education due to existing financial commitments, meaning stopping work completely is not possible.

HAZRI, A. (2014, OCt 17). Students must take responsibility for their own learning. Retrieved from South China Morning Post:

Pusey, S. (2018, April 17). How does culture impact our ability to learn? Retrieved from eSchool News:

Author Profile

James Barron
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.

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