Socioeconomic status is normally measured in terms of the income of a given family, the level of education of parents, and a family’s status in the society (Socioeconomic Status, n.d.). Families from high socioeconomic statuses normally possess enough resources to prepare their children early enough to start schooling than those whose socioeconomic statuses are low. In this regard, children from high socioeconomic status families normally start accessing formal education early compared to their counterparts. They are also usually in a position to provide their children with learning facilities such as books, bags, and uniforms.
Moreover, families from high socioeconomic statuses have enough information regarding their children’s health, cognitive, and psychological development which are key determinants in a child’s education. Families from low socioeconomic statuses, however, have little resources to provide their children with the necessary learning facilities and parents from such families may lack knowledge on the vital education requirements such as text books and helping their children read.
It is therefore important for teachers to know socioeconomic status of students in Australia to enable them handle each student according to his/her need. A student from low socioeconomic status family may not grasp information taught in class as fast as those that come from high socioeconomic statuses due to lack of preparedness, books, and time for learning (Rothman, 2003, p. 9). In such a case, teachers should not treat them equally. Instead, they should spare additional time for those from low socioeconomic statuses and provide them, if possible, with enough time for studying and doing their homework, and required books. Moreover, understanding students’ socioeconomic statuses enable teachers to create an environment that makes all students equal and make them have a sense of belonging.
Ethnicity, which is determined by a person’s language, color or origin greatly affect learning in schools. In Australia, there are minor and major ethnic groups. Pupils from minor ethnic groups are most likely to be deprived from education than those from major ethnic groups. Deprivation does not only apply to education, but also important aspects such as health and national policies, which make them socioeconomically low. Ethnicity also determines attitude pupils have for education. According to Ethnicity and Education (2006), Asian students usually have high positive attitude to education and lessons while those from mixed heritage have low positive attitude towards education and lessons.
Awareness of ethnicity of students would help teachers know the best ways to treat their students. Those from Mixed heritage who have the least positive attitude for education and lessons, for example, would be encouraged and counseled to ensure they develop positive attitude towards learning. In such a case, teachers may use various means, including offering gifts, to make lessons interesting and attractive to students. Teachers may also resort to open air classrooms and actively involve every student in the lessons so that they do not feel bored.
Socioeconomic status positively or negatively affects learning. Low socioeconomic status negatively affects learning as students from the same score low in tests due to lack of enough resources to purchase the required educational facilities such as exercise and text books, playing toys for children, and books (Barry, 2005, p. 24). In addition, parents from low socioeconomic status families may not know how to read or write, and may not be concerned about the performance and health of their children. These greatly affect performance of students as they would start their schooling late, unprepared, and with limited or no resources. Lack of educational facilities such as text books for students from low socioeconomic status families inhibits their learning. This is because they may be required to share available resources which may be hectic and disadvantageous.
Students from low socioeconomic status families may not have access to electricity or lack paraffin for night studies or may have very little time due to the many household chores bestowed on them. This also negatively affects their home studies and overall performance. Teachers may effectively respond to this by developing curriculum that encourages teaching and learning diversity, device ways of teaching students from different diversity in a way that promotes equality, come up with lessons or activities that address issues of diversity that may exist among students, counsel and guide students from low socioeconomic status so that they may blend well with those from high socioeconomic status, create extra time within or after lessons for students from low socioeconomic status, who may not be able to do their assignments or read at night due to lack of power or many house hold chores, to complete assignments or privately study.