Introduction to Sociology – The role and purpose of education

Introduction to Sociology – The role and purpose of education

Again, these are not the only ways to answer such questions but they can be treated as one way of approaching questions of these types. Examiner commentaries (underlined text) have been added to exam-style question answers to give a sense of what is rewarded in the exam and which areas can be developed. Section A Education Topic 1 Explanations of the role and purpose of education The role and purpose of education 1 Solicitation 2 Equal opportunity 3 The term ‘cultural dupes’ implies that children have little control over their education and receive it in a passive way. The term ‘meritocracy’ means a society where there is equality of opportunity enabling the talented to rise up to occupy society’s most demanding roles. 5 The term ‘branching points’ offers to the clearly defined stages in a student’s educational life when decisions are made about their future path in the educational system. 6 Structures are anything that exist externally to individuals and shape their behavior. Both theories see education as an important structure in the form of a social institution that helps make society work.

As a structure the education system influences the people who study and work within it. This is in marked contrast to the interactions perspective, which focuses on processes (such as labeling) within education, rather than the structure of the education system itself. See plan in the workbook. Functionalist perspective on education 1 Shared norms and values held by most people. 2 Collective conscience 3 When there is a sense of community brought about by shared norms and values. This is a term associated with Druthers because he used it to describe a fully integrated member of society who identifies and adheres to society’s norms and values. 5 Choose three from: belief in the work ethic (hard work); achievement; individual Allis; competition; social conformity to society rules and norms. 6 The image portrays the functionalist view of students as being the passive recipients of knowledge. Knowledge helps to bind societies together by promoting a collective identity and thus social solidarity and social integration. Parsons saw education as performing four basic functions: Adaptation, Goal attainment, Integration and Latent pattern maintenance (equilibrium). 9 The three key functions of education are: 1 As an agency of secondary solicitation reinforcing cultural norms and instrumental values. 2 Providing skills relevant and appropriate to adult life, particularly the workplace. 3 Sifting and sorting people by grading them according to examinations and qualifications (social selection). Nine mark for each of the following, or similar, factors functionalists ignore, such as labeling racism, sexism or bullying.

Another mark for identifying how and why these problems represent conflict within the education system and discussion of this in contrast to the functionalist preoccupation with consensus within the education system. 1 1 Parsons argues that education bridges the gulf between the home where status is ascribed and society where status is achieved. Since the emphasis of education is upon achieved status it prepares children for an achievement-orientated society. Children earn about the importance of hard work, getting on, individualism, and competition (all important work-based values). 2 Introduction: Equality of opportunity refers to whether every child in education has the same chance to succeed and do well within the education system. In addition to social class issues, there are also issues of opportunity associated with gender and ethnicity. Main body: Social class inequalities highlighted by the idea of ‘selection by postcode’ challenge the principle of equality of opportunity, implying that where a child lives has a huge impact upon their educational reference and hence future job prospects.

AAA point: Postcode is a generally good indicator of parental wealth and income and demonstrates how the middle class and above tend to succeed in the education system with a huge wastage of talent amongst the working class. Marxist, such as Broodier, argue that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have the same opportunities as those from higher socio-economic backgrounds, due to their Status in society. Broodier says the cultural capital that middle-class parents possess gives them the ability to manipulate the yester and gear it towards the success of middle-class children.

AAA point: Indeed, even if they are ultimately unsuccessful in education, parental influence and networking ensures that the middle-class child is often still successful in the working world. This would seem to suggest that equality of opportunity is not available to the lower classes. In contrast, functionalists like Parsons and Davis and Moore believe both the education system and wider society to be meritocracy, offering a ladder of opportunity to every child. Functionalists explain underachievement primarily in terms of cultural privation within those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

AAA point: Marxist say that cultural factors are often driven by factors like material deprivation. Hyman claims that differences in solicitation in different classes means that when children enter schools, children with norms and values from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to succeed. AAA point: This difference in solicitation (as seen in ideas like Bernstein linguistic codes) hinders the lower-class child’s ability to achieve the equivalent of higher-class children. Equality of opportunity is also limited by eternal deprivation.

Children with less money have less access to beneficial educational resources such as the internet, which John Williams described as the ‘new engine of inequality. They also cannot afford educational support such as private tutors, specialized equipment or enrichment activities like school trips. In addition, some children from lower socio-economic backgrounds undertake part-time work as well as education and then post-16 go straight into the workplace rather than to university which is the norm for the middle class. AAA point: This shows inequality of opportunity, as more none means more opportunity.

Government would claim they encourage staying-on rates with EMMA (abolished 201 1) and loans, grants and bursaries to encourage poorer students to go on to higher education. Despite the out- performance by girls of boys, some feminists still see elements of sexism in education and argue that girls achieve in spite of, rather than because of, the education system. Today there is concern to identify factors which might explain the underperformed of boys, with Amanda Coffey highlighting moral panic over the education system’s failing of boys.

AAA point: However, t is important to recognize that class is still the overwhelming factor in achievement. Most middle-class boys are successful, whereas girls from deprived backgrounds can still struggle to achieve. A further example of inequality of opportunity is seen to lie with racial and ethnicity groups in education. AAA point: However, the situation here is complex, and again social class background would seem to be a key factor in shaping the achievement of those from minority ethnic groups.

However, sociologists like Swell argue that schools are racist institutions, and if this is true then this will Leary disadvantage certain groups. There is evidence from Gilligan and Yodel that certain groups, including black minorities and the broader group of the working class, are put into lower sets and streams than white and middle-class students of the same ability. AAA point: This clearly shows that there is not equality of opportunity in our education system.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the functionalist assumptions that equality of opportunity exists would appear to be naive. Instead, the view held by Marxist, feminists and black sociologists against the argument would seem to have more validity. Education does not exist in a vacuum and tends to reflect the wider inequalities of society. The wealthy will always use their wealth to buy advantages for their children whether this is done more subtly through moving to catchments areas of good state schools or blatantly through the purchase of privileged private education.

Marxist perspective on education 1 Ideology 2 The term cooling out refers to the acceptance by students that their educational failure is internalized as their responsibility, not that the system is stacked against them. 3 Marxist see cultural or social reproduction as maintaining society’s social-class inequalities, in contrast to functionalists who regard it as referring to the solicitation of each generation into society norms and values. 4 Symbolic violence refers to the put-downs from (middle- class) teachers for not having or knowing the right manners, accent, confidence and knowledge.

It is a form of bullying by teachers. 5 The correspondence principle refers to the idea that various aspects of the workplace have matching features in the education system. By going to school students learn key values and coping mechanisms to deal with a lifetime in the workplace. Although Willis himself recognizes the hidden curriculum, he challenges the basic idea of Bowels and Giants that through the hidden curriculum the schooling process produces passive and obedient workers.

The hidden curriculum appears to have no effect at all upon Willis’ ‘lads’ who are anything but passive in their active rebellion. Willis’ work therefore questions the correspondence which Bowels and Giants assume exists between school and work. 7 The term SIS is associated with Alters and refers to ideological state apparatus. Education, like any other SIS, is an institution that exerts ideological control. Altimeter’s view of education was that it exists to control the working class through the electromagnetism of values that reflect ruling-class interests.

Schools serve the capitalist system by preparing children to accept inequalities by molding individuals into conformist behavior and providing them with the skills necessary to fit into the capitalist workforce. Such is the strength of solicitation into these values that the working class internalize them as natural and inevitable. 8 Marxist would see the national curriculum as a highly prescriptive exercise in defining what counts as knowledge worth knowing.

They would also see it as a form of control of the working class since it regulates what subjects are taught. Marxist would argue that the national curriculum controls students just as much by the subjects that are excluded from it. They would regard subjects like sociology as excluded for deliberate ideological reasons. Marxist argue that the government do not want students to be critical thinkers and informed about divisions and inequalities in society. Instead the national curriculum produces uncritical thinkers doing ‘safe’ subjects.

AAA point: However, critics would argue this is a simplistic and naive view and point out hat there is nothing to prevent students choosing subjects like sociology as an option (but usually only at further and higher education). New Right, selection and vocational education 1 The New Right/neo-liberal. Some would also consider new vocational to be linked to the functionalist perspective. 2 Working class 3 Modern apprenticeships. Note that the word ‘modern’ has since been dropped. Because it was said that large numbers of school leavers were unemployable, lacking basic educational skills. 5 Many sociologists see recent developments in vocational education and the Introduction of specialist schools and academies as reflecting elements of Bowels and Giants ‘correspondence theory. Such initiatives may be viewed as supporting a hidden curriculum designed to promote a work-orientated ethos in such schools. The whole area of vocational education supports the work of Bowels and Giants since it can be viewed as explicitly designed to meet the needs of employers. Marxist, in particular, see vocational training as aimed primarily at children of the working class while there is an assumption that middle-class children continue to do traditional qualifications like A-levels and go on to higher education. Vocational training is thus viewed as legitimizing class divisions and inequalities. Andy Green argues that the skills being developed on training schemes are mainly low skilled. Therefore trainees are only prepared for low-skilled, low-paid work that offers limited, if any, prospects of self-advancement.

Dan Finn argues that the real function of training schemes is to remove young people temporarily from unemployment. Steve Crane argues that a ‘black magic roundabout’ exists: a carousel of unemployment, training schemes and unskilled work. Once on this carousel it is difficult to get off. Young people get socialized into accepting a future of unemployment, low-paid and unskilled work with frequent job changes. Marxist also see training schemes as a means of providing employers with cheap labor and as a way of undermining the power of the trade unions. AAA point:] The Marxist view could be seen as over-pessimistic, ignoring the fact that training provides skills making people more employable, promoting social mobility. Topic 2 Differential educational achievement of social groups Social class 1 Pierre Broodier 2 Movement up or down the social class system. The higher the mobility the more ‘open’ a society. Compensatory education refers to social policy attempts to provide extra resources to deprived and underperforming groups. 4 Those that live In deprived areas and often on welfare, such as lone-parent families headed by women or the long-term unemployed.

New Right would call the socially excluded an ‘underclass’. 5 This is the opposite of a meritocracy and occurs when students from some backgrounds or social locations are significantly disadvantaged. 6 Inequality of outcome refers to a marked difference in measured attainment and achievement between social groups. 7 Marxist would argue that politicians do this to avoid officially cosigning, and hence drawing to the publics attention, the systematic failure of a whole class of society.

Instead they can imply it is just a small section of deprived people, often with the suggestion that they are somehow to blame, coming from ‘feckless’ parents or being viewed as deviant because they lack aspirations. Introduction: This could begin with an outline of the evidence showing that the working class achieve less from the education system than other classes. Demonstrate early that your answer will explore outside school factors, but that inside school factors cannot be ignored (type of school, labeling etc. ).

Main body: Material deprivation: Smith and Noble identified strong correlation between a childish postcode and their attainment in education. AAA point: This could be due to outside school factors as well as inside school factors (good and bad schools). Poorer children cannot afford resources like private tutors (Joan Payne), books or internet, described as the ‘the new engine of inequality’ (John Williams). Cultural deprivation: particularly the functionalist view that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds are socialized differently.

Hyman discusses how the norms and values taught to children are different in different classes. Sugarcane talks about working- class children having a fatalistic outlook on education and prefer immediate gratification. AAA points: First, these are generalizations; second, Marxist would argue that the key factor is material deprivation. Parental attitudes: Ball et al. Found in their research that the parents of children from higher socio-economic backgrounds were better equipped to exercise their rights over schools and manipulate the system.

Douglas found that working-class parents attended fewer parents’ evenings. AAA point: Dated study (1967) and critics show that it is not lack of interest but lack of time and the working tatters of working-class jobs. Linguistic codes: Bernstein talks about the codes of speech used in education and that the more elaborated speech pattern used by the middle class is also used in schools by teachers, textbooks etc. AAA point: This view has some validity and overlaps with Boride’s ‘cultural capital’ and ‘symbolic violence’, but it presents an over- generalized and a somewhat dichotomous view of language.

Inside school factors: Working-class children are more likely to live in the catchments areas of poor schools. Interactions focus on teacher labeling, resulting in self- fulfilling prophecy (Rosenthal and Jacobson). AAA point: Children can challenge and reject labels. Guillotine and Yodel support the earlier work of Kiddies, showing that lower sets contain most lower-class children. Conclusion: Underachievement among the working class is caused by many outside school factors which students then take into school.

School processes, such as labeling and streaming can then impact further on these students’ learning and attainment. Ethnicity 1 Chinese and Indians 2 Hermiston and Murray claimed that black children were less intelligent than white children in the USA They also argued that Asians had the highest levels f intelligence. 3 That underachievement by blacks is best explained in terms of the poverty, poor housing and deprived neighborhoods they grow up in. In addition, schools that serve deprived areas tend to be poor.

White children from similar backgrounds have the same low level of achievement 4 Institutional racism occurs when schools and colleges, through their operation and practices, discriminate against some ethnic groups and favor others. Examples might include disproportionate allocation to lower sets, lack of provision of certain foods in the canteen, higher levels of exclusion. 5 Three answers from: It is assumed that boys from female-headed single-parent families lack discipline because of the lack of a father figure; they are disruptive in the classroom resulting in higher levels of exclusion.

When the single-parent works full-time, often in employment with unsocial hours, this can lead to a disrupted family life offering limited practical support for children’s studies. Tony Swell (1996) argues that the predominance of female-headed single parent families makes black boys vulnerable to negative influences from peer pressure and street culture. Charles Murray (1990) sees black one-parent implies as part of an ‘underclass’ with separate cultural values to the rest of society, including a lack of value of education. Marxist argue that the poor educational achievement of many ethnic minorities is because they are located within the proletariat. They argue that the education system is designed to fail the working class and so ethnic minorities experience the same degree of oppression as white working-class members. AAA point: However, in addition to class exploitation they concede that ethnic minorities may also experience racism from other members of society, including teachers and students.

Thus ethnic minorities often find themselves, because of educational underachievement, at the bottom of the social structure in low-status, low-skilled employment, suffering unemployment levels twice that of the white population. Some Marxist see ethnic groups as constituting a reserve army of labor, used and discarded when not needed, but also acting as a surplus labor pool that helps keep all wages low. AAA point: Non- Marxist would point out that some ethnic minority groups are successful in the education system.

Therefore, rather than the system, the problem seems to lie within some groups themselves. Neo-Webzines view the position of ethnic minorities in education as reflecting their status position and wider market position in the workplace. Neo-Webzines are more likely to recognize differentiation, reflecting the way in which some groups like Chinese and Indians will be viewed positively by teachers and schools as they tend to be the best performing groups. Groups like Gypsies, Caribbean and Pakistanis tend to be labeled more negatively and may encounter greater levels of racism and discrimination.

Neo-Webzines could also differentiate between the status difference of girls and boys in education. In order to improve education performance all round and eradicate problems like institutional racism neo-Webzines would advocate reform of the curriculum to make it more multicultural and the employment of more black and Asian teachers to act as role models. AAA point: Marxist would maintain that the bottom line is social class position and material deprivation as the key factors explaining why some ethnic groups underperformed in the education system. Introduction: In order to explain why some minority ethnicities apparently overachieve while others seem to underachieve it is necessary to understand owe ethnicity interacts with social class. At the same time it is equally important to understand that there is a clear differential within every ethnic group between the performance of boys and girls. Main body: Indian students are generally brought up in middle-class surroundings with homes rich in cultural capital and high parental expectations (it reflects ‘family honor’ to succeed).

In contrast, the ethnic groups that are located predominantly within the working class, such as African-Caribbean, Pakistanis and Bangladesh, can face material and/or cultural deprivation in the home. AAA points: This is a generalized picture, but clearly individuals within any ethnic group can buck trends. Also girls do much better than boys in every ethnic group. Black boys: Swell has identified the increased likelihood of Caribbean being brought up in female-headed single-parent families, a street-orientated culture, lack of father/male discipline figure with older brothers often leading younger brothers astray.

AAA point: Swell could be accused of being over-deterministic. Schooling: ethnic group performance has also to be understood in terms of differences between types of schools and differential access to them. Ethnic groups that are predominantly located within the working class have little access to either good middle-class state schools or private fee-paying schools. AAA point: Both Mirrors and Fuller found that self-motivated black girls could overcome schooling factors and gain examination success. Exclusions: black students are up to three times more likely to be excluded from school than white students.

Wright et al. Argue that the issue of exclusions shows that black students have been failed by schools, resulting in them being less able to learn the correct information for examinations and skills for the world of work. AAA point: Recent research shows that schools can be effective in improving ethnic group achievement, challenging practices of racism and providing a less Recounting curriculum. Conclusion: In conclusion it is clear that factors both inside and outside school can account for the differential performance Of ethnic groups.

Whatever the effect of ethnicity, student attainment is also shaped by gender and, particularly, social class. Gender 1 Exam results over the past two decades show improvement for both sexes. The achievement for boys has been rising significantly over this period, but not as fast as that of girls. Gendered refers to the transformation of female attitudes towards education as a result of changes to and expansion in an increasingly feminists labor market. 3 The term ‘fenestration of the workplace’ refers to the increased presence of women in the labor market.

This has been helped by the expansion of the tertiary (service) sector and the improved academic performance of women which has given them greater access to jobs, including graduate positions previously dominated by men. 4 The term ‘glass ceiling’ refers to the barrier of prejudice and discrimination that traditionally prevented women gaining access to the top jobs. It is a ‘glass’ ceiling because women could see, but not be appointed to, the jobs. 5 In co-De schools it seems that girls are less able to develop an ‘ethic of success’ because of domination of space and teacher attention by boys.

In a single-sex school, girls are more likely to have female teachers and head teachers as positive role models. Mahoney argues that a great deal of what is said by boys to girls inside and outside classrooms constitutes verbal abuse and even sexual harassment. The Danish academic Kruse argues that sex- segregation helps girls to relate and act differently, and to become owners of heir own learning. 6 Choose three from: Boys are more disruptive in class and under pressure to comply with a macho culture that undervalues educational success (Jackson). Changes in the workplace have resulted in a ‘crisis of masculinity (Mac an Gail).

Boys seem to be less conscientious at doing homework than girls (Mottos and Browne). Boys are less conscientious about completing coursework and leave revising for exams to the last moment or hope for the ‘right’ questions (Rudders). The introduction of GEESE exams with more coursework seems to have benefited girls more than boys (Elwood). Choose three from: They argue that the high achievement rate of females conceals the fact that many still fail to achieve their full individual potential and encounter systematic disadvantage in schools, colleges and the workplace (e. . Glass ceiling’). Because achievement is still primarily determined by social class, they argue that a high proportion of working-class females still underachieve. Options and subject choice at university remain narrow, suggesting that females still do not feel comfortable studying certain subjects or courses. The female ‘dual role’ of working yet still being primarily responsible for domestic irk and care seems likely to continue. Female success, rather than being celebrated, is turned into a factor in the social problems of ‘failing boys’. It is important to see improved gender performance not only in terms of factors inside school but also factors outside school. Inside school factors Changes in the organization Of education: introduction Of GASES, national curriculum. More female role models, head teachers, department heads etc. Changes within schools, inset, teacher encouragement, better gender-role solicitation. Higher levels of self-motivation (e. G. Fuller, Marcia’s study of black girls). Outside school factors Higher female aspirations and expectations (e. G. Sue Sharper’s study). ‘Gendered’ (Wilkinson) shaping motivation. Expansion of higher education.

Structural changes to the labor market, including the growth of the tertiary sector and the fenestration of the labor force. Influence of feminism. Encouragement of mothers, wanting better job than their mother (Fuller). Growing divorce rate: subconscious recognition that qualifications are a good insurance for the future. Remember to differentiate: girls (or boys) are not a homogeneous group. Recognize the impact Of social-class background and ethnicity in terms of achievement. Material and cultural deprivation 1 Examples include: Operation Headstand in the USA Education Priority Areas (Peas) in Britain.

Recent initiatives in the LIKE include Sure Start, Education Action Zones (Gazes) and Education Initiative in Cities (Ice). 2 They can purchase educational resources such as books, CDC and DVD’s to use in the home. Parents may have cultural capital which will compensate to some extent. They can afford to hire private tutors. 3 The term ‘cultural deprivation’ refers to the controversial idea that the working-class home is inferior cause parents either do not value education or are less capable of supporting their children. You should include three examples from the following list, with explanations: Poor housing, e. G. Overcrowding, cold, damp, lack of personal space for private study etc. Inadequate diet leading to illness/ absence; hunger/lack of concentration in class. Insufficient home learning resources (books, computers, broadband etc. ). Having to earn money so cannot study (too tired; early leaving/university drop-out). Unable to afford to move house into catchments areas of ‘good schools’. Cannot afford private schools or private tutors.

Stigma of free school meals leading to non-attendance etc. Travel costs, a factor for poor families when considering post-compulsory education. Tuition fees, acting as a barrier to going to university. 5 Bernstein used the term ‘restricted code’ to refer to the linguistic code typical of the working class with a limited vocabulary and short and simple sentence structures. ‘Elaborate code’ refers to the linguistic code typical of the middle class with an extensive and developed vocabulary with longer and more complex sentence structures. Boride’s concept of ‘symbolic lenience’ reflects the idea of Bernstein ‘linguistic code’ very well since teachers may speak in an ‘elaborate code’ and put down and undermine working-class students for their accents and use of ‘restricted code’. 7 The theory assumes that middle-class culture is superior, whereas Kiddies argues it is simply different. Smithies argues that the large numbers Of working-class students who leave school at 16 is a response to their parents’ material deprivation rather than a culturally deprived home. 8 Introduction: Cultural deprivation is a controversial theory that divides the sociological community.

Please follow and like us:
Haven’t found the essay you want?