The Functionalist perspective on education


A Level Sociology (Education) Mind Map on The Functionalist perspective on education, created by Phoebe Fletcher on 07/05/2015.
Phoebe Fletcher
Mind Map by Phoebe Fletcher, updated more than 1 year ago
Phoebe Fletcher
Created by Phoebe Fletcher almost 9 years ago

Resource summary

The Functionalist perspective on education
  1. The functionalist see education as a important agency of socialisation
    1. Helping to maintain social stability, through the development of social harmony, consensus, and social cohension
      1. Plays a key role in preparing young people for adulthood, citizenship, and working life
        1. Education meets the key prerequisite of passing on to new generations, the central or core values and culture of society.
          1. Key prerequisite - the basic needs that must be meet if society is to survive
            1. This is achieved through the hidden curriculum, and the actual subjects learnt
          2. Durkheim (1903)
            1. Identified two main functions of education
              1. Creating social solidarity
                1. Teaching specialist skills
                2. Social solidarity
                  1. Individual members, must feel themselves to be apart of a single 'body' or community
                    1. He argues that without solidarity, social life and cooperation would be impossible as each individual would persue their own desires
                    2. The education system, helps create social solidarity, by transmitting societies culture from one generation to the next
                      1. School acts as a 'society in miniature' preparing us for adult life.
                      2. Specialist skills
                        1. Modern industries have complex divisions of labour, where the production of one product involves many specialists
                          1. This cooperation promotes social solidarity. But for it to work, each person must have the knowledge and skills needed to perform their role
                          2. Durkhiem argues that education teaches individuals, the skills needed to play their part in industry
                        2. Parsons (1961)
                          1. Draws on many of Durkheim's ideas
                            1. Sees schools as a place of secondary socialisation. Increasingly taking over, as the child grows
                              1. Parsons argues that within the family children are judged on particularistic standards, where the rules only apply to that child. Whereas at school, and the wider society, we are judged by the same universalistic and impersonal standards.
                                1. In the family a role is ascribed from birth (the eldest son and youngest daughter are given different 'rights' due to gender and age) whereas at school and in the wider society personal status is achieved not ascribed
                                  1. Parsons sees the school as a way to prepare people to move from the family into the wider society, as both school and society re based on meritocratic principles, where everyone is given equal oppertunity
                                  2. Davis and Moore (1967 [1945])
                                    1. Argue that the education system is a means of selecting people for different levels of jobs (role allocation), ensuring that the most talented and qualified individuals are allocated the most important jobs
                                      1. By grading people through streaming, testing and examinations, the education system role allocates people
                                        1. Education plays the part of providing ground for ability to grow, creating competition
                                          1. Moore suggests that in the educational race, there is a equality of educational opportunity,, and everyone who has the ability and talent as well as putting in enough effort, has an equal chance of coming ahead
                                          2. Schultz (1971)
                                            1. Originally developed the idea of human capital
                                              1. suggests that high levels of spending on education and training are justified as these develops peoples knowledge and skills
                                                1. suggests that investment is an important factor in a successful economy
                                                2. Functionalsits see this development of human capital through the expansion of schooling.
                                                3. Criticisms
                                                  1. Hargreaves agreed with Durkiem, that social cohesion was a desirable aim, but felt that it was neglected as schools encouraged individualism and competition for qualifications, and left little time for cooperative activities
                                                    1. UK governments echoed Durkhiem, introducing the Citizenship to encourage values of responsibility and cooperation, and by inspecting schools for 'community cohesion'
                                                      1. Left-wingers reject the functionalist view that some students must expect to be academically unsuccessful, they believe that this view relates more to social class origin than to ability and effort
                                                        1. The link between educational qualifications and job status is weak, most employers have to train people once hired
                                                          1. Bowles and Gintis argue that the education sustem simply disguises the fact that there is no inequality of opportunity in education, and that social class along with ethnicity and gender are the main influences
                                                            1. The education system does not act as a neutral sieve, simply grading and selecting according to ability. But Social class in particular, as well as ethnicity and gender seem to be the major factors effect success and failure
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