The functionalist theory looks more into the ways that universal education serves the needs of the society. On the other hand, the conflict theory focuses on the function of education as perpetuating inequality on the social aspect of life and boosting the power of those who are dominant within the society. The interactionist’s theory limits its analysis on education to what happens directly in a classroom setup, as it looks into the teacher’s expectation from the learner and how it affects the learner’s performance, attitude and perception (Rappa 1976).
The relationship of each theory to education Functionalist theory; According to this theory, the latent role of education is that it brings people together. In other words it enhances socialization within the society among the different people from diverse cultures, languages, color, age and interests. Through the interactions, people get to learn from one another through the exchange of ideas and views regarding different areas of discussion. The other role of education is that it plays the role of passing down core values and social control within the society.
The conflict theory experts further insist on getting rid of modern exams, as according to them all tests contain a knowledge base which is always culturally sensitive. On the other hand, the Conflict theorists look at education not as a social benefit or opportunity, but as a powerful means of maintaining power structures and creating a docile work force for capitalism. The interactionists’ theory is relative to education in the sense that a teacher has more influence on the students within a classroom set up; therefore the performance of a student is majorly based on the teacher judgment and effort (Brubacher 1962)
The perspective of each theory The functionalists see education as a means of transmitting or perpetuating the core educational values from one generation to another. Additionally, they consider education as an important factor in separating the learners putting the basis of this distinction as merit. The conflict theorists on the other hand see the educational system as perpetuating the status quo by dulling the lower classes into being obedient workers to the higher classes. The interactionists on the other hand, focus on the influence of the expectations of the teacher on the learner’s performance (Rappa 1976)
Expectations of education from each theory The functionalists expect that universal education should serve the society by unifying the people within a society, and helping in transmitting the core values of the society. The conflict theorists expect that education will maintain inequality within the society, by preserving the power of those who are dominating the society. The interactionists’ expectations are that the teacher’s anticipation from the students should have an impact on their performance, regardless of its positive or negative nature (Rappa 1976). Comparison
The functionalist and conflict theorists concur on that education is a tool to be used for sorting out the different learners. Further, the functionalists argue that schools sort students based on merit, while the conflict theorists argue that schools sort out students along class and tribal lines (Schon, 1983). The conflict theory puts more focus on competition between groups, while the functionalist theorists focus on balance and stability within a social system. Additionally, conflict theorists focus on society as made up of social relations characterized by inequality and change.
Functionalism perceives the society as a complex phenomenon or system of interrelated parts working together to maintain the desired stability (Brubacher 1962) Analysis of personal selected philosophy and philosopher Aristotle; His philosophy is education for producing quality citizens who are virtuous. He further put consideration on human nature, habit and reason as the vital forces to be expected from and through education. For instance, he considered repetition to be a key tool towards the development of good habits; from the teacher’s systematic guidance of the different students (Schon, 1983).
Aristotle put more weight on balancing the theoretical and practical aspects of the subjects taught. Additionally, he argues that the explicitly important subjects include reading, writing and mathematics. Based on the discussion, it can thus be considered that Aristotle’s thinking fits into the ideas of the functionalist theory (Rappa 1976). Conclusion Having discussed the different educational theories, it can be argued that these educational theoretical models are paramount as far as education is concerned, as they bring about an understanding of how different people perceive education.
Further, it is through these differences that different people come together and reason towards reaching a solid conclusion, which contributes to an advancement in the field of education because trough discussions new ideas are established. Additionally, these theories help the members of society realize diversity in their thinking and perception of things. References Brubacher, S. (1962). Modem Philosophies of Education. New York: Mc Graw Hill Book Co. Pg 114 Rappa, S. (1976). Education in a Free Society: An American History. Philadelphia: David McKay Company Inc. pp 59 Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books.
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