Functionalist Theories of Education

JJ Ralph
Mind Map by JJ Ralph, updated more than 1 year ago
JJ Ralph
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Functionalist Theory of Education

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Functionalist Theories of Education
  1. Emile Durkheim (1903)
    1. Two main functions of education
      1. Social Solidarity
        1. Without social solidarity, co-operation would be impossible due to selfishness.
          1. Created by transmitting shared beliefs and values to the next generation. E.g. History instills a shared heritage.
            1. School = Society. The Education system emulates society. Pupils must conform to authority and work with peers they may not like.
            2. Specialist Skills
              1. Industry requires co-operation to produce products. The education teaches pupils the specialist skills and knowledge that need to fulfil their role in society. Promoting social solidarity.
          2. Talcott Parsons (1961)
            1. Meritocracy
              1. School bridges the gap between family and the wider society. They operate differently, so pupils need to learn a new way of life.
                1. In the family a child has an ascribed status and is judged in their own unique way. E.g. Elder son will get different rules to younger daughter due to age and sex.
                  1. In school, universal and impersonal standards are used. Same laws apply for everyone.
                    1. In schools, everyone sits the same exam with the same pass mark
                    2. How hard a pupil works will affect their achieved status. Both schools and wider society are based on meritocracy.
                  2. Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore (1945)
                    1. Schools select and allocate pupils to their future work roles.
                      1. Inequality is necessary to ensure important roles are filled by most talented people.
                        1. The most important jobs have higher rewards to encourage competition
                          1. Education is a proving ground. Most able get better qualifications.
                            1. Peter Blau and Otis Duncan (1978) suggest that a meritocratic society enables each person to fulfil the role they are best suited to. Therefore society makes the most effective use of its 'Human Capital' and maximise productivity.
                            2. Evaluation Points
                              1. Inadequate teaching of specialised skills - Wolf Review of Vocational Education (2011): Quality apprenticeships are rare. Up to 1/3 of 16 - 19 year olds will not go on to higher education or jobs.
                                1. Equal opportunity does not exist. Achievement influenced by class rather than ability.
                                  1. Melvin Tumin (1953): Davis and Moore have made a circular argument. The important jobs have a high reward because they are more important.
                                    1. Marxists believe the education system only transmits the values and ideology of the ruling class.
                                      1. Interactionists like Dennis Wrong (1961) suggest that functionalists have an 'over socialised' view that people are puppets of society and that pupils never reject school's values
                                        1. Neoliberals and the New Right argue that the eduction system fails to prepare young people adequately for work.
                                        2. SSUMR
                                          1. Socialisation
                                            1. Skills
                                              1. Unity
                                                1. Meritocracy
                                                  1. Role Allocation
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