Funtionalist Perspective on Education

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  • Functionalist Perspectives on Education
    • Key Ideas
      • Based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts help together by a shared culture or value consensus
        • Schools perform the function of selecting and allocating pupils to their future work roles
    • Parsons: Mertiocracy
      • Sees school as the 'focal socialising agency' in modern society
        • Acts as a bridge between the family and wider society
          • Family and society operate on different principles - children need to learn a new way of living - helps them cope with wider society
      • Within the family
        • Children are judged by particularisticstandards - rules apply to only that child
          • Children's status' are ascribed - fixed by birth
      • School and society judge people by the same universalistic and impersonal standards
        • Society - same laws apply to everyone
        • School - each pupil is judged against the same standards
      • School and society - status is achieved not  ascribed
      • School prepares people to move from the family to wider society
        • Wider society and school are both based on meritocratic principles
    • Davis and Moore: Role Allocation
      • Education is a devise for selection and role allocation
        • Focus on the relationship between education and social inequality
      • Inequality is necessary to ensure that the most important roles are filled by the most talented people
        • Not everyone is equally talented - society offers higher rewards for these jobs
          • Encourages competition
      • Education 'shifts and sorts' pupils according to ability
        • the most  able gain the highest qualifications - gives the, entry to the most important roles and highly rewarded positions
    • Evaluation
      • The education system doesn't teach specialised  skills adequately
      • Equal opportunities in education don't exist
      • Marxists argue that education in capitalist society's  only transmit s the ideology of a minority
      • Dennis Wrong (1961) argues that functionalist so have an 'over-socialised' view of people as mere puppets of society
        • Wrongly assume pupils passively accept all they are taught and never reject the schools values

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