Essay on Functionalism in Education

1134 Words5 Pages
Having attended public schools throughout my childhood and adolescence, I never was familiar with the term functionalism and its many elements. After observing and analyzing my field placement classroom I have come to understand the concept of functionalism to some extent. In general, functionalists “see schools as serving to socialize students to adapt to the economic, political, and social institutions of that society” (Feinberg, p.6, 2004). They also theorize that in order for societies to survive, they must carry out vital functions such as, attaining fundamental knowledge and acquiring essential skills and proficiency, acknowledging certain norms and values within their community, and recognizing authority figures. It is also…show more content…
As soon as their teacher, Mrs. Root asked them to settle down, they instantly became silent. This is an example of an unspoken expectation of the teacher and is one of many hidden curriculums that I witnessed in the classroom. Another instance was during instruction; Mrs. Root had asked a question pertaining to shapes and who ever knew the answer, demonstrated this particular hidden curriculum by raising their hand. The functionalist concept, hidden curriculum, is best defined as “organizational features and routines of school life that provide the structure needed to develop the psychological dispositions appropriate for work and citizenship in industrial society” (Feinberg, p. 21, 2004). It is intended to assist in achieving norms, learning one’s position in society, and how to think of oneself. Hidden curriculum has also been explained as making the transition from family to the real world less difficult. This concept applies to the examples I gave because when the teacher asked the students to settle down, they instantly knew that they needed to follow directions. The idea that teachers are authority figures and deserve to be respected is instilled in children at a very young age and is expected to be upheld. As for students raising their hands when wanting to speak or answer a question, this has also been implanted in children’s minds and is a norm in today’s society. I conducted my second
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