SOCIAL DIMENSIONOF EDUCATION
ARTICLE21: SOCIAL SCIENCE THEORIES OF EDUCATION
Education is one of the major institutions that constitute society. There are various various social science theories that relate to education. These are; consensus, conflict, structural functionalist and interactionist theories. Conflict theory deals with the emergence of conflict within a particular human society and the larger issue for this theory is the role the education plays in maintaining the prestige, power and economic and social position of the dominant group in society. The conflict theorists are interested in how society’s institution like –family, government, religion, education, and the media may help to maintain the privileges of some groups and keep others in subservient position. The Consensus theory is seen as the equilibrium state of society based on a general or widespread agreement among all members of a particular society. This theory in which social order and stability/ social regulation form the base emphasis. It emerged out of the society of social order and social stability / social regulation. The consensus and conflict theories are reflected in the works of certain dominant social theorist such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and other social theorist. Structural functionalism is concerned with the functions of schooling in the maintenance of social order. It asserts the society is made up of different institutions or organizations that work together in cooperation to achieve orderly relationship and to maintain social order and social stability. It has four functional imperatives for all “action” system- ADAPTATION,GOAL ATTAINMENT, INTERGRATION, LATENCY- to be used at all levels of theoretical system ( includes action system, personality system social system and cultural system). Interactionist theory about the relation of school and society are critiques and extension of the functionalist and perspectives. Symbolic interactionism is interested not simply in socialization but in interactions between students and students and between students and teachers. All types of interactions refine our ability to think. It views the self as socially constructed in relation to social forces and structures.
The learners are necessary to examine individual decisions in the context of a set of needs, preferences an individual has and values they seek. The critical decision process must be regarded as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment. The analysis of individual decisions is concerned with the logic of decision making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to.Structural Functionalism makes 7 main assumptions. These assumptions focus on several levels of analysis [society, community, individual, social unit (e.g. family, organizations)]: •
Systems have a property of order and an interdependence of parts o
Societies and social units are held together by cooperation and orderliness •
Systems tend toward self-maintaining order, or equilibrium o
Societies and social units work best when they function smoothly as an organism, with all parts working toward the “natural” or smooth working of the system •
The system may be static or involved in an ordered process of change •
The nature of one part of the system has an impact on the form that the other parts can take •
Systems maintain boundaries within their environments
Natural (external) environments are separate but adapt to each other. The same dynamic occurs within societies and/or social units – if one or more parts significantly conflicts with others, others must adapt •
Allocation and integration are two fundamental processes necessary for a gives state of equilibrium within a system o
Division of labor and positions help maintain balance; each part interrelates to create efficiency and harmony; the most capable individuals must be motivated to fill the most important roles/positions •
Systems tend toward...
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