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Sociological Theories and Educational Achievement

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Introduction

´╗┐Unit Title: Socio-Economic Factors and Educational Achievement Kayleigh Giles-Johnson ________________ Sociological Theories and Educational Achievement In this essay we will be analysing three types of sociological theories, firstly looking at functionalism then the contasting views of Marxism and Interactionism, explaining how each theory works and how they can each affect educational achievement. Functionalism is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It focuses on the idea that education is merocratic, meaning that social rewards are earned by talent and effort and that success or failure is based on the ability of every individual. Functionalists believe that not only people born with advantages can get a high position in society, but everyone can if they put the work in. ...read more.

Middle

Bowles and Gintis also argue that school reproduces class structure, with pupils being taught to accept the hierachy of society from a young age. Willis (1977) argues that labelled pupils 'learn to labour', resulting in working class pupils going on to do working class jobs. He suggests that the formation of anti-school subcultures has a strong resemblance to the culture found in a workplace, with opposition to acadamia and authority forming as a way of learning to cope with the boredom of repetative work. Furthermore, Marxism argues that this is in fact beneficial as it produces a cheap pool of labour and workers who can fulfill the menial roles that the middle class will not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Teachers generally differentiate between pupils by adding them into different sets according to label, potentially affecting their overall results (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk). In conclusion, these three sociological theories each have their own way of explaining educational achievement, with each being critical of one another. Functionalism strongly opposes Marxism in the idea that meritocracy is in fact a myth and we all go on to do what we are taught to do whilst still in school, whereas Interactionism says that it is in fact the outcome of our relationships with teachers and the labelling we are are subject to in school that determines what we will do later in life. Reference List 1. Haralambos M, Holborn M, Heald R (2008), Sociology Themes and Perspectives, London: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 1. Parsons, R (2004) AS Level Sociology: AQA Revisions Guide, UK: CGP Publishings Ltd. 1. Interactionism, Available online at: http://www.historylearningsite. ...read more.

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