Education and Methods in Context
The Education specification
1 The role and purpose of education, including vocational education and training, in contemporary society • Functionalist and New Right views of the role and purpose of education: transmission of values, training workforce • Marxist and other conflict views of the role and purpose of education: social control, ideology, hegemony; ‘deschoolers’ (Illich, Friere): socialisation into conformity by coercion • Vocational education and training: the relationship between school and work: human capital, training schemes, correspondence theory.
2 Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
• Statistics on educational achievement by class, gender and ethnicity; trends over time • Social class and educational achievement: home environment; cultural capital, material deprivation; language (Bernstein); school factors, relationship between achievement by class in education and social mobility • Gender and educational achievement: feminist accounts of gender-biased schooling; the concern over boys’ ‘underachievement’ and suggested reasons; subject choice; gender identities and schooling • Ethnicity and educational achievement: patterns; reasons for variations; multicultural schools, the relationship between class, gender and ethnicity • The effects of changes on differential achievement by social class, gender and ethnicity.
3 Relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning
• School processes and the organisation of teaching and learning: school ethos; • streaming and setting; mixed ability teaching; the curriculum; overt and hidden • The ‘ideal pupil’; labelling; self-fulfilling prophecy • School subcultures (eg as described by Willis, Mac an Ghaill) related to class, gender and ethnicity • Teachers and the teaching hierarchy; teaching styles • The curriculum, including student choice.
4 The significance of educational policies, including selection, comprehensivisation and marketisation, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of education
• Independent schools
• Selection; the tripartite system: reasons for its introduction, forms of selection, • entrance exams
• Comprehensivisation: reasons for its introduction, debates as to its success • Marketisation: the 1988 reforms – competition and choice; new types of schools • (CTCs, academies, specialist schools, growth of faith schools) • Recent policies in relation to the curriculum, testing and exam reforms, league tables, selection, Special Educational Needs (SEN), etc • Recent policies and trends in pre-school education and higher education.
1. The Role of Education
(1) Functionalism and the New Right
Functionalist theories of education
Functionalism is a consensus theory which sees society as being essentially harmonious. It argues that:
• Society has basic needs, including the need for social order. To survive, society needs social solidarity through everyone sharing the same norms and values. Otherwise, society would fall apart. • Social institutions such as education perform positive functions for both society and for individuals, by socializing new members of society and by helping create and sustain social solidarity. • Functionalism is a conservative view of society. Functionalists tend to focus on the positive contribution education makes to society.
Functionalists ask two key questions about education:
1. What are the functions of education for society as a whole 2. What are the functional relationships between education and other parts of the social system?
Durkheim - education and solidarity...
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