Role of education Darcy Fletcher Functionalists believe education performs two contradictory functions , on one hand they believe that educations prepares children for their specialised role acquired to their skills and potential. So they can perform at the best they can at their role after education. On the contrary they believe society needs to share the same goals and outlook in order to co-operate. Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependant parts which is held together by value consensus. Durkheim argued that society has to feel a sense of social solidarity , he believes that without this form of social cohesion , society would be impossible because each person would pursue their own ‘ selfish’ desires.
So the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society. Consequently Parsons (1961) sees schools as a bridge between family and wider society. This bridge is needed as they both operate on different principles. Within the family, the child is judged by particularistic standards and status is ascribed. Whereas in education and wider society, status is achieved and we are all judged by the same universalistic standards e.g.
Durkheim argues that education system helps to create social solidarity by transmitting society’s culture- its shared belief and culture from one generation to next. He furthermore argues that education teaches individuals the specialist knowledge and skills that they need to play their part in the division of labour. Education is organised on meritocratic principles and rewards pupils’ ability, not their social background. However, functionalist perspective can be criticised as there does not always exist an equal opportunity in education. For example, achievement is greatly influenced by class background rather than ability.
SOCIOLOGY THEORIES SOCIOLOGY THEORIES _____________________________________________________________________ Functionalism According to the functionalist perspective each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society’s functioning as a whole. The government, or state, provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends on to keep itself running. That is, the family is dependent on the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In this process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn support the state. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus or cohesion, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve what is best for the community as a whole.
According to the New Rightâs beliefs, the role of education is to instil drive, initiative and enterprise. The New Right believe this will come from competition between schools and colleges, motivating teachers to improve standards and providing parents and students with a choice of schools and colleges. The New Right see them as being similar to functionalists and they believe in the freedom of the individual with less central control. They believe in free market principles within education with a desire to reduce public spending, they also believe that education as an important part in the process of socialisation. They believe that education can help socialise children through religious assemblies, the National Curriculum and citizenship lessons.
For example they look at what education does for society as a whole not just certain people in society. Functionalists also believe that society is based on consensus, i.e. we are all socialised to agree on norms and values. Functionalists believe that each part of society has a function to make sure that society runs smoothly and everything stays in harmony. For example education has a function to make sure people are educated and conform to works place norms.
Parson views the education system as being meritocratic, enabling everyone to have equal opportunities, and success being down to individual desire to succeed and ability. Parsons also viewed education as a bridge between family and society, enabling people
Some think it as promoting value consensus and some see otherwise. Functionalists believe that education transmits society's norms and values and therefore promotes value consensus, with the educational and economic system working hand in hand to develop the skills required for the world of work. Emile Durkheim provides the basic framework of the functionalists view on the education system, agreeing with its function of transmitting norms and values. He believed that for society to operate effectively they have to develop a sense of belonging to something, becoming 'social beings' with a loyalty and commitment to society as a whole. The education system creates this effectively by teaching subjects such as history, which enables children to see the link between themselves and wider society.
For us, school is a miniature version of society as it provides us with skills that we need once we enter work or when starting a family also, the experience prepares us for interacting with members of society and the rules that society has. He believed that school rules should be strictly reinforced, punishments should reflect the seriousness of the damage done to the social group and it should be made clear to those who have done wrong why they are being punished. This way, pupils would come to learn that it is wrong to act against the social group, it would also teach them to exercise self-discipline but more importantly that misbehaviour would damage society as a whole. Durkheim argued that education teaches individuals specific skills necessary for their future occupations. This is particularly important in industrial society with its increasingly complex and specialised division of labour.
Family sociologically defined is: ‘a social unit consisting of people who support each other in several ways’ - those several ways being functions of the family. This essay will demonstrate a breadth of understanding in the functions of the family and will question whether the family is or is not losing its functions to other institutions in society such as the media and religion. Some sociologists such as functionalists would argue that the family is not losing its functions as it plays a part in ‘the organic analogy’ alongside the other institutions and plays a key part in society. Whereas other sociologists argue that the family is losing its functions to other institutions in society. Functionalists believe that the family teaches particularistic norms, which are specific household rules (e.g.