Theories Of Education

Theories of education

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Secondary Socialisation = essential in teaching norms and values
Hidden Curriculum = indirect messages taught in schools e.g. hierarchy.

In the family: ascribed status - loved for who you are
In the family: achieved status.

Meritocratic = you achieve if you work hard; individual achievement.

Allocation Role (Parsons) = schools filter puils into occupations and roles for later in life.

Industrial Society = division of specialised skills and knowledge required.

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Althusser = schools teach that capitalism is fair/reasonable.
Capitalists are essential to social control.

Bowles&Gintis: schools teach norms and values of the ruling class; there is a correspondence between social relationships in the classroom and workplace.

Myth of Meritocracy = nobody has an equal opprtunity

Social Function of Elimination = encouraged to live up to labels given to them.

Allocation Role = NO: the highest qualifications come from those in the higher social clases; preparing working class to have the right attitude to boring and routine work.

Paul Willis: overt participant observation, working class boys, "The Lads" rejected school and created a "counter school culture".

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Gendered language: tends to downgrade women and make them invisible.

Gendered roles: textbooks tend to present males and females in tradition roles.

Gender stereotypes: reading schemes present traditional stereotypes.

Women in curriculum: women tend to be missing, "hiddent from history".

Subject choice: females tend to avoid maths, science and technology.

Discrimination: pass marks for girls were lower than those for boys.

Further/Higher education: teachers often give boys more encouragement.


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Focus on what happens in a classroom between teachers and pupils.

Labelling & Self Fulfilling Prophecy: the way which teachers interpret and react to the behaviour of students. Labels applied by the teacher shapes the nature and quality of the relationship.

The judgements made by the teachers can have profound effects on the future performance of the pupil.

Labels are often based on the "Ideal Pupil" - leading to stereotypes.

Becker: "Ideal Pupil" = middle class; judgements based on appreance not ability.

Rosenthal&Jacobson - Self Fulfilling Procphecy: Treated "clever" better.

Stephen Ball - Beachside Comprehensive: Banding/Streaming

  • Teachers expect less of those in the bottom and were rarely left alone.
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New Right

Schools should be self managing: gives teachers freedom, able to control school policies, makes staff use their initiative.

Schools should be competing in a similar way to companies in the private sector.

Chubb & Moe = help raise standards in teaching and learning.

If the quality or teaching is raised, then students gain better results = economic growth.


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