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Sociology of Education (Research Paper Sample)

Question How does the role of schools in society differ in functionalist and conflict theories? Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each theory in explaining the role of education in Singapore. And how can the interactionist theory also contribute to our understanding of the role of education in Singapore? This TMA covers materials studied in Study Unit 1, Chapter 1; Chapters 1, 3 and 4 of your textbook. Please review the materials in both your textbook ( Schools and Society . Jeanne H.Ballantine , Joan Z. Spade) and the Study Units before beginning the assignment. In addition, you may find it necessary to perform additional research in order to provide better answers to the questions. You will be graded on the quality of your research and analysis. To answer this question well, you should first understand the different theoretical perspectives on schools and education. You are encouraged to research further on the education scene and situation in Singapore. Based on your reading and also, your own observations and experience of education in Singapore, you should then aim to evaluate the different theories on roles of schools. To what extent do these theories apply to the education situation in Singapore? What light does this then shed on the role of education in Singapore? You should aim to provide a well-structured argument with clear elaboration and justifications for your answers. source..
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Sociology of Education
The perspective of the education in Singapore as an institution is based on two macro theories: functionalist and conflict theory. This paper aims at discussing the framework of the two theories, their strengths and weaknesses and to establish to what extent they have been applied to the education sector in Singapore
Believers of this theory view the society as a social system that is comprised of interdependent parts that aid in its smooth running. They argue that every social institution is made up of these parts that work together for the overall system to function. With regard to the education system therefore, their focus is on the functioning of the school and its organization structure, in making the whole system work properly.
The school structure involves young people being taught values and attaining skills in a classroom environment under the teacher as an authority figure. The school is therefore important in transferring values to individuals to help them serve their purpose as members of the society. According to Durkheim, this theory poses the function of the schools as that of nurturing morality and an awareness that is important in maintaining order and promoting society stability (Brym 4).
As discussed in Education as a Social Institution: Sociology of Education, those who believe in this theory view the education system as an institution that causes and perpetuates social inequalities. They are of the opinion that the people under any system are forced to abide by the rules of the system and do not do so willingly. They argue that schools are an environment where students are taught to be subordinate to their rulers rather than a learning ground.
There is no common ‘Conflict Theory` and different theorists give different opinions. Karl Marx describes schools as a place where ideas that serve the interest of the ruling class are forced onto people from a lesser class, making them accept the social inequality implied in the action. Max Weber on the other hand describes the schools structure as organized around the interests of the dominant group in the society.
Strengths. One of the criticisms of the functionalist theory is lack of a distinguishing ap...
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