Topic 1: Why do we educate children?

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  • Created by: zoolouise
  • Created on: 17-05-16 18:00

What is education?

Education is the process by which the collected knowledge of a culture is passed on to people, usually children. All children within the UK must recieve an education from the ages of 5 to 18. However, they don't have to go to school as they can be educated at home.

Informal education

All socitieseducation children and in the past this was done by the parents within the home, or through daily activity. This type of education into the skills of adulthood is known as informal education.

Formal education

Modern socieities have highly developed educational systems with people who are professional educators working within instituions. These people prepare pupils for examinations. There's a series of debates as to the purpose of education and what essential knowledge should be passed on. These debates are influenced mainly by the beliefs of those in power and also their beliefs about what children need to know.

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Historical reasons for the development of educatio

There are a wide variety of historical and social reasons which explain why we have an education system, as well as why governments fund schools and colleges. These include:

  • Child labour - If children are in school then they're protected from exploitation by employers of child labour.
  • Vocationalism - Children can be trained for work and also the needs of future employers.
  • Public health - Children that come from poorer families can be offered basic nutrition which encourages them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Economic trade - The British manufacturing and business requires a trained workface in order to maintain its position as world leader in trade.
  • Military capacity - Britain used to be a military nation which was engaged in frequent wars abrorad. The soldiers required basic education and a good standard of health.
  • Training in cultural values - Schools promote well-being and culture of children. It's explicit in most educational legislation.
  • Religious reasons - If children were taught to read the Bible it would result in their moral behaviour improving.
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Theoretical debates

Structural theory viewpoints look at the role in which education plays in society, rather than the mechanics of how it actually takes place.

  • Functionalists don't cricise the education system. They see it as a tool to that society sorts out children in order for them to take on the best jobs. It sees education as meritocratic, providing a ladder of opportunity.
  • Marxists say the education is a source of social inequality and a tool of an unequal social system. The inequality in educational opportunity socialises people into accepting that others have more power and wealth than them.
  • Feminism views the education system as oppressing women. It exists to socialise children into traditional gender patterns, perpetuating gender inequality.

Social action theories focus on relationships within the school, influencing attainment:

  • Interactionalists look at the relationships between teachers and pupils, also between pupils. Teachers label pupils, impacts their self-esteem. Interactionalism can be deterministic.
  • Postmodernists are similar to interactionists. They see tachers and pupils as constructors of knowledge. In school realities are constructed for pupils, this is how values are passed on.
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