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Assess The Functionalist View Of The Role Of Education

1367 words - 6 pages

Introduction
Assess the role of education form the functionalist perspective Functionalists believe that education performs very important roles for individuals, the economy and the wider social structure. It provides secondary socialisation, passing on shared culture enables individuals to develop their potential and regulates their behaviour. Functionalists argue that education has three broad; socialisation where education helps to maintain society by socialising young people in to key cultural values, such as achievement, individualism, equality of opportunity, social solidarity and democracy. The second one is skills provision in which education teaches the skills required by a modern ...view middle of the document...

Inequality is therefore functionally necessary. If everyone had the same levels of pay and status no one would be prepared to take on the most difficult and responsible jobs, it is argued. ...read more.
Conclusion
The functionalist's view that education provides pupils with the skills for work has also been criticised. Since these are often not acquired at school but from additional trainings by employers. New right thinkers and some labour politicians, criticise schools for teaching things not relevant for work. Others argue that education really only has a baby-sitting or control function. It's a way of controlling young people and of allowing parents to go out and work. Functionalists are useful in drawing attention to the many functions education can perform but they are probably wrong to see them as well-being for the goods of individuals and society as a whole. For example it may be only the ruling class who benefit from education producing a docile workforce. From another perspective, interactionists would argue that they have an over socialised view of individuals and that we cant see education in terms of 'functions' anyway we should look instead at how individuals interact with schools rather than seeing education as a thing which shape the individuals in societies interests. ...read more.

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. Behaviour is measured against school rules; their achievement against performance in tests. This is applied to all students regardless of their background. However could be argued that occupation reflects education and if ascribed a poor background can be given fewer life chance which relate to equality of opportunity. This is referred to as a meritocracy - success is achieved through individual merit. This links with functionalist’s views are that ascribed class can be changed by hard...

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