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Using information from the items and elsewhere, examine the functionalist argument that schools serve the interests of both the individual and society.

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Introduction

Using information from the items and elsewhere, examine the functionalist argument that schools serve the interests of both the individual and society. Functionalists believe that education is a meritocracy. This would mean that we all start at the same equal point and our end point is determined by our ability to achieve. There are many reasons to consider when looking at this point. I believe that it gives an over socialised view of society, that we will all follow and not see the exeptions. A meritocracy in education would serve the interests of the individual because they would end up in a job which would suit their ability. For example a pupil who is not very bright would not end up doing a hard job which they did not understand, such as a doctor. Society would also benefit from meritocracy, the most able would be doing the most functionally able jobs. This would mean a stronger more efficient workforce and less unemployment. There are lots of arguments against a meritocracy in education. ...read more.

Middle

This would help them because they could be sure of the kind of work they would like to do even before starting a job. Society would also benefit from skills provision in education because they would be able to employ experienced workers as soon as these finish school. This would mean a larger workforce and reduced unemployment. Skills provision sound good in theory but it does have some major flaws. For the individual, functionalists fail to recognise that some pupils may reject learning and therefore "fall out" of the system. Also some of the learning at school is not related to work at all, Shakespeare is a good example of this. Society is damaged by skills provision because it means more working class people doing working class jobs rather than climbing the "ladder of opportunity". Consensus is when everyone agrees on a similar set of norms values and beliefs. Functionalists believe that this is the case in education, they think that the individual benefits from it because there is no conflict so they have nothing to worry about. ...read more.

Conclusion

This means that social class helps people know where they should be in life. The hidden curriculum are not physical lessons, such as English, Maths and Science. It is not about learning a subject as such, you learn key values and beliefs, such as conformity and knowing your place. Durkheim regarded the hidden curriculum as the moral part of the curriculum which involved students learning respect for authority ect. Functionalists see the hidden curriculum as a good, necessary part of the curriculum. For the individual it provides them with skills they will need for the rest of their life such as self asteem and manners, for example knowing when to speak and when not too. It provides society with people who know how to behave in a certain way in certain situations, depending on their culture and social class. Schools create a set of disiplined, submissive workers. For Marxists, the hidden curriculum refers to the authority structure of schooling, the hierarchical nature of both the structure and process of schooling conveys ideas of dicipline and hierarchy that are essential for future workers, therefore, it is the form of schooling not its content that is most important. ...read more.

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