Education is a very powerful
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A discipline that must not be gender biased. Everyone needs one and it doesn’t matter how far you go in it, as long as you get a good one. This is very useful in everything that you will do in life and how much of this that you have depends on your position, pay and so on. From functionalist to symbolic interactionist to conflict discuss that education is powerful in all ways.
Education is a very powerful tool in the toolbox of life. According to Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” All of the knowledge that you will gain is remarkable. Now a high school diploma is nothing and it will get you the lowest paid worse jobs ever. Education gives us knowledge of the world around us. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life.
Functionalist and education focuses on the way that education serves the needs of society. They see education as a way of conveying basic knowledge and skills to the upcoming generations. Functionalist put an emphasis on positive aspects of schools such as socialization which is the learning of skills and attitudes in school. Skills provisions like literacy and numeracy are important to them as well. Role allocation is all parts of this education which allocates people to the most appropriate jobs for their talents using examinations and qualifications. Education helps maintain society by socializing young people into values of achievement, competition and equality of opportunity. Functionalists believe that society is held together by cohesion meaning that the members of the society agree upon and work together to achieve what is best for society as a whole.
The government, or state, provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. You are doing more than educating about math and science, you are educating about race, backgrounds, and even gender. According to the functionalist directions, obeying and meeting deadlines are a part of core and social values. The functionalist believe that sorting of the students based on their academics is the best. The student that scores the highest are usually placed in accelerated programs and college prep courses. Now we have networking which is great because networking you will meet all kinds of people who can help you in different areas throughout your life.
Symbolic Interactionist considers the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other. They observe what is directly happening in the classroom, focusing more on the teacher and their expectations of the students and their attitudes. It is a proven fact that once a child is worked with more by a teacher their scores become higher. It is said that people attach meanings to symbols and then acting according to their subjective interpretation of these symbols. Their words have a certain meaning for the sender and during effective communication they hopefully have the same meaning for the person receiving the information. In other terms words are not static the things they require intention and interpretation. Individuals act according to their interpretation of the meaning of their world.
Rist observance in an African American teachers Kindergarten classroom it was observed that better learners came from higher social classes and the weaker learners came from the lower social classes. I know that this is kind of strange, but it could be true, just think about it, a wealthier family can afford to get their child a tutor and more educational resources, while a lower class family may not be able to afford anything extra, their child may even receive the free/reduced lunch at school. I have seen this first hand that the closer a child is to the teacher the better they perform on their work and the symbolic strongly believed in these theories.
Conflict focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever-changing nature of society. McLeod’s “Ain’t No Makin’ It” is a good example of conflict theory as applied to education. He argues that teachers treat lower class kids like less competent students, placing them in lower tracks because they have generally had fewer opportunities to develop language, critical thinking and social skills prior to entering school than middle and upper class kids. When placed in lower tracks lower class kids are trained for blue collar jobs by an emphasis on obedience and following rules rather than autonomy, higher order thinking and self expression. They point out that while private schools are expensive and generally reserved for the upper classes public schools especially those that serve the poor are underfunded, understaffed and growing worse.
They see education as perpetuating the status by dulling the lower class into being obedient workers. Schools sort in distinct classes and ethnic lines. They train the working class to accept their positions as lower class members of the community. This role in education is called the hidden curriculum. Conflict sees education as powerful mean of maintaining power structures and creating a workforce for capitalism not as a social benefit or opportunity. Schools are also powerful agents of socialization that can be used as tools for one group to exert power over others. By demanding that all students learn English, schools are ensuring that English speakers dominate students from non English speaking backgrounds. Many conflict theorists argue however, that schools can do little to reduce inequality without broader changes in society like creating a broader base of high paying jobs or equalizing disparities in the tax base of communities. Today conflict theorists find social conflict between any groups in which the potential for inequality exists, such as racial, gender, religious, political, economic, and more. Conflict theorists note that unequal groups usually have conflicting values and agendas causing them to compete against one another. This constant competition between groups forms the basis for the ever changing nature of society.
In conclusion all three theories seem to think that education is an important factor. They all may not agree on the way of thinking that it is important and that is what we discussed above. All that matters is that at the end of it all they are all on the same accord and that is that education is powerful in all ways.
On the Essence of Education
Alexander M Sidorkin Studies in Philosophy and Education. Boston: Sep 2011. Vol. 30, Iss. 5; p. 521 www.about.com (Functionalist, Conflict and Symbolic Theory)Anderson, M.L. and Taylor, H.F. (2009). Sociology: The Essentials.
Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Morais, Ana M Neves, Isabel P Fontinhas, Fernanda.British Journal of Sociology of Education 20. 1 (Mar 1999): 37-53. Understanding education: a sociological perspective
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