Functionalist View of Education Mindmap

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  • Functionalist view of Education
    • DURKHEIM - education has two main roles/functions
      • 1)Creating social solidarity - a sense if belonging
        • School = 'mini society' to prepare for work
        • Achieved through teaching shared N+V's
        • AO3: Marxists argue that schools only transmit RCI, not shared N+V's.
      • 2)Teaching specialist skills
        • We need people to perform different jobs in society as it has a complex division of labour
        • AO3: Vocational qualifications are seen as inferior to academic ones (for example A-Levels.
    • PARSONS - sees school as acting as a bridge between family & wider society
      • In a family, a child is judged by particularistic standards (rules for each child)
        • Similarly, child's status within family is ascribed - fixed from birth
        • School & society judge us by universalistic standards (same rules/laws apply to everyone + status is achieved not ascribed (have to work hard to gain status).
      • Sees school & society as based on meritocratic principles so everyone is given an equal opportunity + individuals achieve rewards through own effort & ability.
      • The school is a society in miniature which helps to teach & prepare people for the demands & expectations of wider society.
    • DAVIS & MOORE - see education's main function as role allocations - sifting & sorting by ability for future work roles.
      • Argue inequality is necessary to ensure the most important roles of society are filled by the most talented people - this encourages people to compete for highest paid jobs + improve workforce.
        • AO3:Both PARSONS + DAVIS & MOORE argue education is meritocratic, however evidence suggests that social class, ethnicity & gender all affect achievement, meaning this is not the case.
      • Education acts as a sieve which 'sorts' people into roles/positions in society.
    • Functionalism says education has 3 functions that help society
      • 1) Education plays a part in secondary socialisation, passing on core values.
      • 2) Education sifts & sorts people for the appropriate jobs. This is called the allocation function.
      • 3) Education teaches the skills needed in work & by the economy.


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