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Assess functionalist views of the role of education

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Introduction

´╗┐Assess functionalist views of the role of education. (20 marks) Functionalists emphasise positive aspects of schools, this is the idea of a ?consensus? perspective; where there is an agreement about what is valued within a society. These are like Emile Durkheim's social facts or moral regulation in that they govern behaviour, and while they are coercive, they are also generally agreed upon where ?The function of education is to transmit society?s norms and values? . According to functionalists education performs a wide range of roles for society; these roles include purpose and the passing on of values which contribute to a smooth running society. It is believed that education presents formal curriculum by creating a skilled, literate, hard-working workforce to meet the economic needs of society done by the National Curriculum. Another form of curriculum that is included is informal curriculum which is the hidden aspect of school this involves secondary socialisation such as teaching students obedience, ethos and norms and values. Talcott Parson a former functionalist claims that status is ascribed in that it is fixed by birth; in modern societies status is largely achieved, the usual example being occupational status. ...read more.

Middle

For example diploma and BTEC levels were established. The New Right have left a legacy which continues to reform the education system and even though functionalists have different approaches to the system the purpose of the New Right reform is to benefit every individual of society. Another critic of the functionalist perspective is Marxists. Marxists suggest that like functionalists they see the school as preparing the young for adult society that they will face in the future. However unlike functionalists they do not see this as a positive thing but as a way of manipulating the minds of the younger generation. This ?conflict? theory took over popularity and went up to challenge functionalists. This perspective has the point of view that groups exist in society that have different interests and that some groups benefit from certain positions that they hold in society. Marxists can see change benefiting education but then say such changes must be accompanied by wider social changes. Like Marxists, Bowles and Gintis (1976) see work as exploitive and alienating. ...read more.

Conclusion

Functionalists on the other hand do not address the possibility that inequality may be socially created and education is a former carrier of inequality. The Liberal/ de-schooling approach education as the promotion of the well being of the individual rather than aimed at improving society as a whole. These contrast with the beliefs of functionalists as they each suggest different roles of education. Ivan Iillich claims that school crushes a child?s spirit by removing their sense of identity and free thinking and school produces unthinking automatons. In contrast to functionalists that think education benefits the society, whilst as said, liberals stress the need for education to teach people to think independently and focus on the well-being of individuals as suggesting it should be freedom from having to conform to the demands of any group. There is a clear difference of sociological opinion over the role of education being consensus and conflict perspectives. Functionalists same similar values to certain aspects of the other views, however strongly feel that the roles of education all combine to see society as a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared value system. ...read more.

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