Functionalist Approach to Education

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  • Created by: Becky
  • Created on: 17-05-13 15:37
  • Two important writers to remember: Durkheim and Parsons.
  • They identified 4 basic functions of education:

Passing on society's culture

  • Passing on to new generations the central norms, values and culture of a society. Achieved through hidden and educational curriculum. Unites people together by giving them shared values (value consenses) and a shared culture.

A bridge between family and wider society

  • Durkheim argued that schools are society in miniture, preparing young people for wider society. 
  • Parsons sees the school as unit of secondary socialisation, taking over from the family as children grow older.
  • Schools provide a bridge between the family (particularistic values, ascribed status) and wider society (universalistic values, achieved status).

Providing a trained and qualified workforce

  • Functionalists see schooling and higher education as necessary to provide a trained, qualified and flexible labour force to undertake the various different jobs in modern industrialised society. 
  • Argue that the education system prepares this labour force, making sure the best…


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