The Impact of Sociological Theories in Education

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The Impact of Sociological Theories in Education Crystal Taylor-Johnson SOC101: Introduction to Sociology Professor Christine Henderson November 22, 2010 Education is the most important part of a person’s life. Without a good education people would struggle in everyday life just to be able to get by. There are three theories that help understand education. Even though most people feel theories are just someone’s opinions, education has many different theories that support it because these theories help people understand education better and these theories are all different but yet they help identify what education really is. The three theories that are important for people to know are Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism. These…show more content…
Conflict “Conflict perspective is a sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of tension between groups over power or the allocation of resources, including housing, money, access to services, and political representation.” (Schaefer, 2010). These theorists see the purpose of education as maintaining social inequality and preserving the power of those who dominate society. Conflict theorists and functionalists examine the same functions of education. “Functionalists see education as a beneficial contribution to an ordered society; however, conflict theorists see the educational system as perpetuating the status quo by dulling the lower classes into being obedient workers.” (, 2010). Both of these theories agree that the educational system practices sorting, but they disagree on how the educational system enacts that sorting. Functionalists believe that the schools sort based on merits; whereas conflict theorists believe that schools sort based on distinct class and ethnic lines. Conflict theorists believe that schools train those who are in the working class to accept their position as a lower-class member of society. This role of education is called “hidden curriculum”. Conflict theorists have several key factors that defend their position. They feel because property taxes fund most schools, schools in affluent districts have more money. The students who live in these kinds of
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