contribution made by functionalist in the role of education

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Topics: Sociology
Positivism is the structural perspective of seeing society as a whole. Positivists stress greater importance on society rather than solely focussing on the individual within as society influences individual human behaviour. This has resulted in a variation of different social structures e.g. family, education system and religion.

Positivists believe the collection of data should be collected objectively and categorised. Data should be expressed in numerical form, e.g. percentages, statistics, questionnaires etc. This means that it can be quantified and analysed to observe present trends and correlations. From this, human behaviour can be identified. This type of research needs to be large-scale to ensure the facts found, apply to the whole of society. Research should be objective.

Functionalism is a sociological perspective which interprets each part of society on how it contributes to the stability of society as a whole. Functionalists see society as a social system based on consensus. This is also known as the ‘consensus theory’, where there is an equilibrium state in society in which a widespread of members is in agreement with one another in a particular society, each sharing the same norms and values. The Consensus Theory is primarily concerned with the maintenance of social order within society. Functionalists emphasise the structure of society, rather than the individuals and consensus existing in society.

A functionalist has a consensus perspective on education. They examine society in terms of how it is maintained for the common good. Functionalists will put an emphasis on positive aspects of schools. Benefits of the education system include;
Socialisation, the learning of skills and attitudes in school. Education helps maintain consensus in society by encouraging young people to share the same values and agree on the majority of things.
Skills provision, teaches the skills for the economy. For example, literacy, numeracy and IT for

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