Outline The Functionalist Perspective On Education

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Functionalists attempt to provide complete theory of a society. they first look at society as a whole and then work down to individual parts. the functionalist view on education tends to focus on the positive contributions made. One functionalist perspective of education is that of Durkheim, 1903. Durkheim, the founder of functionalism, a structuralist macro approach states that 'education prepares you for society'. He also said that withough social solidarity (bringing everybody in society together) a social life would be impossible. Durkheim described this as the glue holding society together. there are several strengths and criticisms to Durkheim's stud. An obvious strength would be that education greatly helps society to come together and teaches the important life skills that are needed in order ro build up society. There were also a number of criticisms to Durkheim's theory. Hargreave's greatly criticised Durkheim by saying that there was too much stress on the developing individual rather than on the duties and responsibilities of the individual. The study also does not look at why individuals do not achieve within education A second functionalist perspective is Parson's, 1961. Parson's stated that education acts as a bridge between family and wider society. Meaning that education prepares young people to be independent, and develop so that they are able to deal with society beyond their families. To some extent, Parsons draws on many of Durkheim's ideas. Parsons see's the school as the focal socialising agency. Parson's said that both the school and wider society judge everybody by the same universalistic and impersonal standards, for example; the same laws apply for everybody. Parsons believed that in schools, a persons status is largely achieved and not ascribed and this is not a true reflection on society. He also strongly believed in meritocratic
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