transferring knowledge, skills and cultural values to the students, higher education teachers are indirectly keeping young and unemployed individuals off the streets (Stephens & Leach, 1998, p. 203). In general, each of the school teacher(s) have different set of multiple roles which they need to satisfy on a daily basis. Because of their unique function within an educational institution, functionalists may sometimes conclude that the presence of certain school policies and institutions can be dysfunctional for most of the teachers within a given educational institution. As explained by Appelrouth and Edles (2008, p. 386), the occurrence of dysfunctionality is possible because “they are functional for a more powerful social group or the social system itself”. Functionalists strongly suggest that the main function of higher education teachers is to provide better occupational opportunities for the unemployed students in the long-run. Upon analyzing the functionalist theory of education, it is the students who function as the receiver of the transferred knowledge, skills and cultural values from the school teachers. However, this theory is not applicable when it comes to analyzing the relationship between teachers and students in higher education. Conflict Theory Conflict theory view education as something that “reflects other inequalities within a given society” (Andersen & Taylor, 2011, p. 348). Because of the presence of racial, class and gender discrimination, not all students are able to receive equal rights to education. Furthermore, conflict perspective in higher education also suggest that the process of tracking down teachers’ ability to deliver good quality teaching based on the prescribed school curriculum also contributes to the development of...
This essay stresses that based on symbolic interaction theory, social interaction between teachers and students within an educational institution is possible and necessary when it comes to individual and group successes. As compared to functionalist theory, symbolic interaction theory view human beings within a given society as something that is “not an established structure but as individuals who are trying to meet their life conditions and expectations”. Based on the core perspectives in contemporary sociological theory, the concept of a structural functionalism is more on the non-rational collective side whereas the orientation of symbolic interaction theory is more on non-rational and individualistic side. Considering the fact that symbolic interaction theory heavily relies on the actions made by the school teachers and students, this particular theory can be more effective and applicable in terms of analyzing how the relationship between the school teachers and students in higher education work.
This report makes a conclusion that as compared to functionalist and conflict theories, symbolic interactionism theory is the best applicable theory when it comes to analyzing the relationship between teachers and students in higher education. Unlike the functionalist and conflict theories in sociology, symbolic interactionism theory does not focus on analyzing the structure or functionality or conflicts in a given educational institution but only with regards to how each of the stakeholders who are trying to meet their life conditions and expectations as human beings.