Functionalist view of Education

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  • Functionalism view on education
    • Intro/context
      • Tend to emphasise the positives of education
        • Meritocracy
        • Secondary socialisation
    • Role allocation and meritocracy
      • Education provides an equal opportunity for all to achieve good qualifications
        • Combination of ability and effort determine who gets the best qualifications and then the ebst jobs
      • Provides a way of allocating people to appropriate job roles- through teired qualifications
      • Industrial societies are hierarchal
        • Some jobs are more important and pay more
          • e.g doctors
        • Other jobs less important and pay less
          • E.g hairdressers
    • Social solidarity
      • Durkheim
      • Where the individual feels themselves to be part of the coummunity and where people work together towards shared goals
      • School is one of the few insitutions which can perform this function in advanced, industrial
      • Achieved through learning the same curriculum- history,english
    • Teaching specialist skills for work
      • Schools provide a diversity of qualifications which gradually become more specialised
      • Industrial economies require a complex division of labour, many jobs are highly skilled
    • Bridge between home and school
      • At home- pupils are judged by particularistic standards
        • Different standards
      • Parsons
      • At school- pupils are judged by universalistic standards
        • The same standards, applied equally to all
    • Positive evaluations
      • Schools try to create solidarity
        • Team sports/ assemblies/ citizenship lessons
      • Education is more meritocratic now than in the 19th century
      • Education has become more work focused with more vocational qualifications and apprenticeships
    • Criticisms
      • Marxism- the edcuation system is not meritocratic
        • Class background influences educational achievement, especially with private education
      • Interactionism- Functionalism ignores the negative experiences some students have in school
        • e.g bullying/ teacher labelling
      • Postmodernists- education kills creativity- through teaching to the test
      • It is ideological- it relfects the views of the poewerful, who gnerally tend to benefit from education


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