Functionalist Role of Schools in Contemporary Society
In looking at the role that schools play in society, it is important to first understand what the meaning of a school is. Most people would define a school a s an institution where people go to gain knowledge and to do exams but from a scholarly sociologist point of view, a school is an institution where people not only go to get knowledge but also learn how to co-habit with one another in society as one (Anderson 2009). The function of a school in society is charged with the responsibility of developing interpersonal communication and literally skills among individuals in order to further one’s ability to learn more complex life skills and more demanding subject principles. These skills are aimed at helping these individuals to create a livelihood for themselves, satisfy personal curiosities and fulfill one’s personal desire for personal fulfillment to better oneself (Macionis 2008). As Moore’s et al (2008) explains, functionalism from a functionalist’s perspective on education is having consensus perspective: it is a perspective in which one examine how the society is maintained for the common good. Such a functionalist perspective mainly puts an emphasis on the positive aspects of schools such as socialization, the learning of skills and individualistic attitudes in school. Education on the other hand is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one learning generation to the next through teaching, training and research (Bourdieu 1977). Education plays a key role in society by maintaining the aspect of socializing the young into values of achievement, competition and equality of opportunity (Macionis 2008). Education provides a platform for skill accusation and role allocation in society. In looking at the role of schools in today’s society, it is important to notice that today schools are faced by many complex issues one of them being frustrated parents. In a society where by parents are never at home to look after their children, schools are the most preferred places that parents take their children for the greater part of the day as they take their day jobs (Anderson 2009). This possess as a greater challenge to this institutions because, not only are they charged with the responsibility of educating these children using the general curriculum, they are now charged with the responsibility of morally bringing up these children in the contemporary acceptable way in society by teaching them basic life skills, co-relating and co-habiting as one in peace with others, and equip them with the virtues and values that life has to offer. As to whether these schools have met their role as expected by society, the consequent paragraphs will help us know whether or not they have by looking at what roles the functionalist account education in schools has played through socialization, acquisition of skills and role allocation in society focusing on the positives and negatives of each. As (Bourdieu 1977) explains, functionalist account is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It aims at interpreting each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. These different parts are basically the institutions of society, each of which is organized to fulfill different needs and each of which has particular consequences for the form and shape of society (Macionis 2008), parts that are dependent on each other. It emphasizes on the harmony and order that exist in society, focusing on social stability and shared public views and values. Socialization. When one’s activities are associated with that of others, one is considered to have a social environment. What he engages in and what he can do is dependent upon the expectations, demands, approvals, and condemnations of others since we are all interconnected such that we cannot perform our own...
Cited: Anderson, M.L. and Taylor, H.F. 2009. Sociology: The Essentials. Belmont, CA: Thomson
Wadsworth Accessed April 15, 2013, from < http://sociology.about.com/od/Sociological-Theory/a/Functionalist-Theory.htm >
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Macionis, J. and plummer, K., 2008 sociology. 4th edition harlow: pearson education Ltd, Chapter 20.
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