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Theory of Education

  • Date Submitted: 08/15/2012 04:28 AM
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Theory of Education

Sociology’s Theory of Education
July 25, 2012

Sociology’s Theory of Education
The importance and purpose of education in a social system has been debated through many sociologists.   Education is defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. Functionalism, conflict, and the symbolic interaction are the main theories in sociology.   Education has an influence on each theory in many ways; those areas will be covered in this essay.
Functionalism focuses on the way something functions for the needs of society.   Functionalist sees education as conveying basic knowledge and skills to the next generation (Vissing, 2011).   They also theorized society based on observable facts. Their approach looks at structures of society in the capacity or function it holds. Education gives us a focal point for the particular attributes we will need in order to contribute to the social system. How we think, how we work properly, how we make choices, are all results from what was taught.
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) stated:
“Education is the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life. It is the object to arouse and to develop in the child a certain number of physical, intellectual and moral states which are demanded of him by both the political society as a whole and the special milieu for which he is specifically destined." (Lear 1961)
Durkheim observed that education takes different forms at different times and places showing that we cannot separate the educational system from the society for they reflect each other.
According to him, moral values are the foundations of the social order and society is perpetuated through its educational institutions. He stressed that in every time and place education is closely related to other institutions and to...


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