AQA AS Sociology Unit 2
Education with Research Methods
This Answers book provides some possible answers that might be given for the questions asked in the workbook. They are not exhaustive and other answers may well be acceptable, but they are intended as a guide to give teachers and students feedback. The candidate responses for the longer essay-style questions are intended to give some idea about how the exam questions might be answered. Again, these are not the only ways to answer such questions but they can be treated as one way of approaching questions of these types. Examiner commentaries (underlined text) have been added to exam-style question answers to give a sense of what is rewarded in the exam and which areas can be developed. Section A Education
Topic 1 Explanations of the role and purpose of education
The role and purpose of education
The term ‘cultural dupes’ implies that children have little control over their education and receive it in a passive way. 4
The term ‘meritocracy’ means a society where there is equality of opportunity enabling the talented to rise up to occupy society's most demanding roles. 5
The term ‘branching points’ refers to the clearly defined stages in a student’s educational life when decisions are made about their future path in the educational system. 6
Structures are anything that exist externally to individuals and shape their behaviour. Both theories see education as an important structure in the form of a social institution that helps make society work. As a structure the education system influences the people who study and work within it. This is in marked contrast to the interactionist perspective, which focuses on processes (such as labelling) within education, rather than the structure of the education system itself. 7
See plan in the workbook.
Functionalist perspective on education
Shared norms and values held by most people.
When there is a sense of community brought about by shared norms and values. 4
This is a term associated with Durkheim because he used it to describe a fully integrated member of society who identifies and adheres to society's norms and values. 5
Choose three from: belief in the work ethic (hard work); achievement; individualism; competition; social conformity to society’s rules and norms. 6
The image portrays the functionalist view of students as being the passive recipients of knowledge. 7
Knowledge helps to bind societies together by promoting a collective identity and thus social solidarity and social integration. 8
Parsons saw education as performing four basic functions: Adaptation, Goal attainment, Integration and Latent pattern maintenance (equilibrium). 9
The three key functions of education are:
1 As an agency of secondary socialisation reinforcing cultural norms and instrumental values. 2 Providing skills relevant and appropriate to adult life, particularly the workplace. 3 Sifting and sorting people by grading them according to examinations and qualifications (social selection). 10
One mark for each of the following, or similar, factors functionalists ignore, such as labelling, racism, sexism or bullying. Another mark for identifying how and why these problems represent conflict within the education system and discussion of this in contrast to the functionalist preoccupation with consensus within the education system. 11
Parsons argues that education bridges the gulf between the home where status is ascribed and society where status is achieved. Since the emphasis of education is upon achieved status it prepares children for an achievement-orientated society. Children learn about the importance of hard work, getting on, individualism, and competition (all important work-based values). 12
Introduction: Equality of opportunity refers to whether every child in education has the same chance to succeed and do well within the education system....
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