These are Secondary Socialisation which is socialising young people into key cultural values. Skill provision this suggests that education teaches the skill required by a modern industrial society and Role allocation this is the allocation of jobs to suit a particular person and their talents. Functionalists argue that education is positive in helping society to functions because it provides a value consensus and social solidarity.
Davis and Moore state that education should be meritocratic, this means that there is equal opportunity in education for all. Functionalist Talcott Parsons says that education prepares and selects individual for their future roles in society, therefore benefiting the individual as well as society. Skills that are required by modern industrial society were general skills such as literacy and numeracy or the specific skills needed for particular occupations.
Numeracy and literacy hours have been introduced to all Primary schools and they are beginning to introduce them to secondary schools as well. Role allocations includes social stratification this allocates your role in the social stratar, to a functionalist this seems acceptable and very fair. They also believe that without education, society would not be able to continue functioning.
Functionalist sociologists also say that due to everyone going through the process of education it provides a common ground for people and provides a sense of solidarity based on shared experiences. On the other hand, there have been many criticisms made about the Functionalist view on education. People have made criticisms such as the theory assumes that all pupils start at the same level whereas, in reality, everyone starts at different stages. Also there is evidence that certain groups underachieve in school such as the working class and ethnic minority groups.
16.1. Education around the World
This therefore suggests that pupils do not have an equal opportunity and that their talents have not been effectively recognised. It also suggests that the system of role allocation is not very efficient. Another main criticism is that certain subjects within schools only reflect a white middle class view, this mainly occurs in history. This may discourage social solidarity and many ethnic minority groups are now demanding that history teaching includes their history and historical viewpoint. Other sociologists such as Marxists criticise the Functionalist view as they believe that it focuses only on the positives in education and ignores the negative factors.
As the item says, they believe that education actually causes a divide in society rather than bringing people together.
Marxists such as Bowles and Gintis criticise the Functionalist view by saying that there is a link between the unfairness in schools and the unfairness of power in the workplace; this is known as the correspondence theory. They say that schools are based on hierarchy and contain layers of authority. Pupils have to obey teachers and are expected to follow orders leaving the pupils little control; this corresponds with the lack of control in the workplace in later life. Also they say that school rewards punctuality, obedience and hard work yet discourages creativity and independence.
Once again this closely relates to the type of people employers look for.
Free Functionalist Essays and Papers
Therefore Bowles and Gintis believe that education does not bring people together but causes a divide due to hierarchies. They also reject the idea of role allocation as they found that the students with high grades tend to be harder working, obedient and conforming rather than creative, original and independent.
These characteristics are rewarded with high grades as they are the qualities that are needed for a disciplined workforce that will obey orders from the ruling class. Moreover they say that the upper classes can get the best education due to their higher position in society. The upper classes have more money which enables them to afford better education such as private schooling; they can also afford private tutors. Another Marxists called Bourdieu criticises the Functionalist view by saying that not all the pupils have an equal opportunity.
This socialization also involves learning the rules and norms of the society as a whole. In the early days of compulsory education, students learned the dominant culture. Today, since the culture of Canada is increasingly diverse, students may learn a variety of cultural norms, not only that of the dominant culture. School systems in Canada also transmit the core values of the nation through manifest functions like social control.
One of the roles of schools is to teach students conformity to law and respect for authority. Obviously, such respect, given to teachers and administrators, will help a student navigate the school environment. This function also prepares students to enter the workplace and the world at large, where they will continue to be subject to people who have authority over them.
Fulfillment of this function rests primarily with classroom teachers and instructors who are with students all day. Education also provides one of the major methods used by people for upward social mobility. This function is referred to as social placement. University and graduate schools are viewed as vehicles for moving students closer to the careers that will give them the financial freedom and security they seek. As a result, university students are often more motivated to study areas that they believe will be advantageous on the social ladder. A student might value business courses over a class in Victorian poetry because he or she sees business class as a stronger vehicle for financial success.
Education also fulfills latent functions. Much goes on in school that has little to do with formal education. For example, you might notice an attractive fellow student when he gives a particularly interesting answer in class—catching up with him and making a date speaks to the latent function of courtship fulfilled by exposure to a peer group in the educational setting.
The educational setting introduces students to social networks that might last for years and can help people find jobs after their schooling is complete.
The Functionalist Perspective On Education Essay -- Sociology, Education
Of course, with social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, these networks are easier than ever to maintain. Another latent function is the ability to work with others in small groups, a skill that is transferable to a workplace and that might not be learned in a homeschool setting. The educational system, especially as experienced on university campuses, has traditionally provided a place for students to learn about various social issues.
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There is ample opportunity for social and political advocacy, as well as the ability to develop tolerance to the many views represented on campus. In , the Occupy Wall Street movement swept across university campuses all over Canada, leading to demonstrations in which diverse groups of students were unified with the purpose of changing the political climate of the country.
Critically Evaluate the Functionalist Perspective on Education
Table Manifest and Latent Functions of Education. According to functionalist theory, education contributes to both manifest and latent functions. Functionalists recognize other ways that schools educate and enculturate students. One of the most important values students in Canada learn is that of individualism—the valuing of the individual over the value of groups or society as a whole.
One of the roles of schools in Canada is fostering self-esteem; conversely, schools in Japan focus on fostering social esteem—the honouring of the group over the individual. In Canada, schools also fill the role of preparing students for competition and cooperation in life. Obviously, athletics foster both a cooperative and competitive nature, but even in the classroom, students learn both how to work together and how to compete against one another academically.
Schools also fill the role of teaching patriotism. Although Canadian students do not have to recite a pledge of allegiance each morning, like students in the United States, they do take social studies classes where they learn about common Canadian history and identity.
Another role of schools, according to functionalist theory, is that of sorting , or classifying students based on academic merit or potential. The most capable students are identified early in schools through testing and classroom achievements.
Exceptional students are often placed in accelerated programs in anticipation of successful university attendance. Other students are guided into vocational training programs with emphasis on shop and home economics. Functionalists also contend that school, particularly in recent years, is taking over some of the functions that were traditionally undertaken by family.
Society relies on schools to teach about human sexuality as well as basic skills such as budgeting and job applications—topics that at one time were addressed by the family. Critical sociologists do not believe that public schools reduce social inequality. Rather, they believe that the educational system reinforces and perpetuates social inequalities arising from differences in class, gender, race, and ethnicity. Where functionalists see education as serving a beneficial role, critical sociologists view it more critically.
To them, it is important to examine how educational systems preserve the status quo and guide people of lower status into subordinate positions in society. Students of low socioeconomic status are generally not afforded the same opportunities as students of higher status, no matter how great their academic ability or desire to learn. For example, 25 of every low-income Canadian year-olds attend university compared to 46 of every high-income Canadian year-olds Berger, Motte, and Parkin Barriers like the cost of higher education, but also more subtle cultural cues, undermine the promise of education as a means of providing equality of opportunity.
Picture a student from a working-class home who wants to do well in school. Monday evening, he has to babysit his younger sister while his divorced mother works. Tuesday and Wednesday he works stocking shelves after school until p. By Thursday, the only day he might have available to work on that assignment, he is so exhausted he cannot bring himself to start the paper.
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Since English is her second language, she has difficulty with some of his educational materials. They also lack a computer and printer at home, which most of his classmates have, so they have to rely on the public library or school system for access to technology. As this story shows, many students from working-class families have to contend with helping out at home, contributing financially to the family, having poor study environments, and lacking material support from their families.
This is a difficult match with education systems that adhere to a traditional curriculum that is more easily understood and completed by students of higher social classes. Such a situation leads to social class reproduction, extensively studied by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. He researched how, parallel to economic capital as analyzed by Marx , cultural capital , or the accumulation of cultural knowledge that helps one navigate a culture, alters the experiences and opportunities available to French students from different social classes.