funtionalist theory of education

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  • Created by: zahra
  • Created on: 03-11-12 17:26


  • focuses on positive contribution that education makes to maintain social system
  • Durkheim saw the main function of society as a transmission of functionalists society norms and values to be spread to EVERYONE
  • education including teaching of history is the link between individual and society.if children taught the history of society theyll realise theyre part of something larger than themselves
  • they will commit to society

durkheim also said...

  • interacting with other students with the same rules applied.prepares children to interact with actual members of society with societies rules
  • punishments teach children that its wrong to behave against social groups rules and that itll damage society as a whole
  • education teaches people skills for future careers.this is important in the capitalist society with its complex and DIVIDED labour

2 functions of education (according to functionalists)....

  • socialisation
  • skills provision
  • role allocation
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PARSONS ( socialisation)

  • Says after primary socialisation with family, school takes over as a focal socializing agency
  • School is a bridge between family and society, prepares children for adult role
  • Within family, child judges and treated in terms of particularistic standards (treated as their particular child rather than judging them in terms of standards that can be applied to every individual)
  • Childs status fixed by birth. Start at early age .functionalism society (ascribed)
  • schools prepare child for this transition
  • in a wider society the individual treated and judges by universalistic standards that applied to everyone despite their age or background
  • Status in adult life achieved .individuals achieve their OCCUPATIONAL STATUS
  • In schools, universalistic standards applied to everyone despite their charactersitics,age,classbackround,gender ect
  • Parsons saw education as a key to future roles in society .as students tested and evaluated talents skills and capabilities matched to jobs best suited
  • Education a mechanism /way to do role allocation

schools follow meriocratic principles : status achieved via merit/worth as schools reward values and equal opportunities.if you work hard you get to places,youve earnt it because of mertit

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davies and moore(role allocation)

  • saw role allocation as a key factor
  • education sifts and sorts and allocates people into their abilities/talents
  • rewards most talented with high qualifications that provides entry to occupations that functionally most important to society
  • do will=good jobs
  • do okay=few/no jobs
  • if you work hard ,you can get anywhere
  • assume everyone's at same starting point.everyone equal there
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  •         Durkheim assumes society has a shared culture that is transmitted by the education system, but Britain is multicultural so there’s debated on if a single culture that schools base their curriculum on exists

    ·         Marxism says educational institutions transmit a dominant culture that serves bourgeoisie rather than all of society

    ·         Schools promote individual competition in the exam system rather than encouraging social solidarity (values that bring together certain social groups. agreement!)

    ·         in some societies, there’s am assumption that meritocratic education is a myth and its argues that YOU really now what’s best for you not what society says lead you to success.

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