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Theories of Education - Research Paper Example

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The aim of the functionalist theory is to analyze the ways in which the needs of a society at large are fulfilled by education. There are different angles from which the functionalist theory looks at the education industry. The first of these is through a basic fulfillment of its main role: the transference of knowledge and skill to the next generation. A definition expanded by Durkheim, who founded the functionalist theory, as a means for social mainstreaming for diverse individuals and serving as a “moral education” (Durkheim, 1961). Another way to look at the role education serves, as defined by functionalists, is the way in which it ensures a communication of core values as well as social control. These are instilled in the education systems to incorporate appropriate characteristics advocating political and economic systems. These in turn ensure that individuals grow up learning directions, following deadlines and comply with authority figures. Education instills in individuals the concept of individualism – the ideology that dictates an individuals liberty rights. The formulation of this ideology varies from culture to culture. Take the example of American students who from a young age learn that society picks out the best individual and hold only him in high regard, whether it is for academics or athletic ability. This idea constitutes to the development of identity and self-esteem of American students. Similarly the same ideology if applied to a high context culture like that of the Japanese, being singled out despite collaborative effort leads to feelings of shame as social esteem is strongly associated with appreciation being focused on group rather than individuals (Milton,1998). The element of competition in all aspects of the education system, academic and extra curricular also forms the bases of the fundamentalist perspective. It strives to link winning with the possession of a reward which serves as a key motivating factor. A contribution of education towards the political structure is mainly through teachings of patriotism, where students learn about national heroes and tales as well as the Pledge of Allegiance. A key example is that of instructors telling students of Washington’s integrity or Lincoln’s desirable qualities as a way to instill patriotic values. Other benefits of education as scoped out by functionalists are categorized by how it leads to sorting, that is the categorization of students based on their merit. It leads to the recognition of the capability of individuals at an early stage and then foster and encourage them by steering them towards the right direction. This process of social placement is greatly beneficial for the society (Covington, 2008). Furthermore the process of sorting also contributes to that of networking, the making of connections personal and professional. It brings people of related backgrounds, skills, academics and potential together. The emphasis of the functionalist approach is also to highlight the part education plays in preserving as well as contributing to cultural additions. Research shows that as an individual advances in his academics, their chances of becoming increasingly liberal and open minded exceed. Also the decision to pursue higher education increases their knowledge base and enriches their value system. (FIND STUDY) Hence the role of education is not limited to a preservation and transference of knowledge but also plays a vital role their ...Show more
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Summary

When you view the institution of education the implications that it has on the political as well as economics needs is part of its key function. Sociologists as well as educators agree that education has a great impact on the formulation of various aspects of society however the debate lies on what its primary function is…
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