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Functionalists believe the role of education is to teach the key skills needed in life to pupils so they can achieve the status they want

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Introduction

´╗┐Aamina Patel. Sociology ? Functionalism 08-10-11 Functionalists have a very positive approach to society and always see the good in everything. E.g.: they focus on the contributions made by education to society. They want to generalise their ideas to the whole of society. Therefore for education they look for what it does for society; not just certain people in society. They believe every society require basic needs. If these needs are met then society is functioning and more likely to last longer. They also look at how society is based on consensus so individuals must obey society?s norms and values. They see a link between education and the economy in that education develops the skills needed for the world of work. Functionalists believe the role of education is to teach the key skills needed in life to pupils so they can achieve the status they want or sometimes need for the future. Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) was a French sociologist he was the key founder of the functionalist theory. ...read more.

Middle

Principles within the family and society work differently, the values we learn in school apply to all society not just our homes. However schools have a more serious function; that is to prepare us for life to do that they use ?social selection? choosing what students will do for their future job roles. He argues that best students will go far and get the best jobs whereas the weaker ones will get low pay and status work. In both school and wider society status is achieved not ascribed e.g. we gain a promotion depending on how great we are at the job, whereas at school we pass or fail because of our effort. Parsons see?s school is preparing us for the wider society in a fair way, in the meritocracy approach everyone is given the same opportunities and individuals achieve through their own effort and ability. This means that students learn to accept that the system is a fair and equal one. Davis and Moore (1945) followed up on Parsons Theory. They both also see education as a selection but they look at more the relationship between social inequality and education. ...read more.

Conclusion

Schools provide adequate supply of sufficiently trained labour for the modern economy; it is getting us ready for the world of work. However functionalist views play down conflict in schools and dysfunctions e.g. bullying, failure and truancy. Whose values are promoted in schools? Some sociologists would say that these are whites, middle class values. Marxist approach argues that rather education is seen as an apparatus that legitimizes and reproduces society?s inequalities and divisions (school just keeps society fair). Education is part of the bourgeois. Education is a crucial part of the system of social control where we are taught to believe in the dominant ideology of the capitalist state structures. Education socializes us into accepting the values of the capitalist system. In addition Parsons wrote a lot, but hardly did any practical research. There is little evidence to support his ideas this is a weakness as it makes it difficult to test his theories. Should education be about being prepared for our roles as our workers in the economy? What if skills we have learnt are not required? It questions whether sifting and sorting is fair. Many researchers show there is no meritocracy in education, as evidence shows that your social class background has a big influence of achievement. ...read more.

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