The role of education: Marxism

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  • The role of education: Marxism
    • Bowles and Gintis proposed Correspondence Theory. This is the belief that school prepares us for the workplace by using the Hidden Curriculum.
      • During school we learn to:
        • Cope with boredom and focus on external rewards – we get used to being bored in exchange for a future reward. school : reward is qualifications or prizes. work:  reward is salary or wages.
        • Accept hierarchy – we become used to the idea of being unimportant and that there are other people who have more power than we do
        • Deal with fragmentation – we are used to not really understanding how things work or why we do the things we do. Our understanding of the whole organisation is fragmented. This makes it harder for us to overthrow the bosses or set up our own business.
        • Be subservient – we follow instructions when given to us without questioning them.
    • Pierre Bourdieu believed that it was easier to achieve at school if you have cultural capital (skills and experiences that will make it easier for you to do well in exams and get on well with your teachers)
      • middle class children had more cultural capital, so school was biased towards them.
      • education is  unfair – those from wealthier backgrounds are more likely to do well. It undermines the belief that schools are meritocracies.
    • sees education as a negative institution and argues that the powerful groups in society oppress the working class.
      • working class are exploited and education creates a docile (accepting and quiet) workforce. Education keeps the bourgeoisie in power and stops the proletariat from rising up. Education is under the control of the bourgeoisie.
      • Education system acts as a means of socialising children into their respective class position, so they are unlikely to challenge the system.
      • Meritocracy is a myth to ensure that the system seems fair.
    • the whole purpose of education is to teach us to be compliant (follow orders) and to conform (stick to the rules and expectations of society).
    • Paul  Willis criticises Bowles and Gintis as threes less correspondence between schools and the needs of the economy that they suggest. focuses on social class and neglects the issues of gender and ethnicity.
      • he found the existence of a counter culture that was opposed to the values of school. members of the counter culture did not follow school rules and were not obedient.
        • their rejection of school made them suitable candidates for male dominated, unskilled or semi-skilled manual work.
      • focused on the existence of conflict within the education system. 'educations not a particularly successful agency of socialisation' also researched educational achievement and gender.
    • David Reynolds  'the curriculum doesn't teach the skills needed by employers and it teaches uncritical passive behaviour that makes workers easy to exploit.


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