Functionalist Perspectives on Education - AQA

Different perspectives from Functionalist thinkers.

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  • Functionalist Perspectives on Education
    • Durkheim
      • Schools are 'Society in miniature'
        • Builds social solidarity.
          • Social solidarity refers to the integration of people in society through shared values, a common culture etc.
      • Education meets a key functional prerequisite.
        • Functional prerequisites refer to the basic needs that must be met if society is to survive.
        • Achieved by the hidden curriculum.
          • The hidden curriculum is the non formal content of subject lessons. E.g. PSHE / Citizenship
    • Parsons
      • Sees schools as important places of a secondary socialization.
        • Taking over from the family as the children grow older.
      • Provides a bridge between the particularistic values and ascribed status of the family
        • Also between universalistic values and achieved status.
          • Universalistic values are rules and values that apply equally to all members of society.
          • Achieved status is made when you work towards it, e.g. going up the rank to high positioned job.
        • Particularistic values are rules and values that give a priority to personal relationships.
        • Ascribed Status is where your status is in relation to what your born into, (money, social class etc.
    • Schultz
      • Developed the theory of Human capital.
        • Human capital is the knowledge and skills possessed by a workforce that increase that workforce's value.
      • High levels of spending on education and training are justified as these develop people's knowledge and skills, and this investment is an important factor in a successful economy.
      • The division of labor shows that the  education system prepares this labor force, and makes sure they are the best and most qualified and end up in the jobs requiring greatest skill and responsibilities.
    • Davis and Moore
      • The education system is a way of sifting and selecting people.
        • For different levels of the job market.
      • Education ensures that the talented and gifted get the most important jobs.
      • Education is a race for success.
        • There is equality of education opportunity
          • This is the idea that every child should, no matter what social class and other factor should get equal abilities in their education.


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