Answer to Question #205418 in Sociology for excellent

Question #205418

according to functionalism, what do school provides for learners that families can not provide?

Expert's answer

Functionalists on Education


                  Functionalists believe that education is an essential element in the development of the social structure. It is among the most powerful institutions that play a crucial role during supplementary socialization. They also believe society would have been unable to operate without education. On the other hand, there have also been numerous criticisms leveled at the Functionalist approach to education. Some have argued that the concept assumes that all students begin at the same level, although it is clear that everyone begins at various stages. There is also evidence that only certain groups, including the working class and ethnic minorities, underperform in school. This essay provides an in-depth understanding of what do school provides for learners that families cannot provide.

           In complex societies, the school serves a function that neither the family, which is centered on kinship, nor friendship, which is based on individual choice, can satisfy, whereas becoming a member of broader society entails learning to get along with and collaborate with people who are not our relatives nor our friends (Zheng, 2018). The school has been the only institution capable of educating people for membership in the larger society; it does this by attempting to enforce a set of rules that apply to all children, and children are learning to interact with all of the other persons based on these cooperative learning experiences; it thus functions as a miniature society.

Functionalists have always argued that school regulations should be strictly enforced, with a series of forms of punishment for all of those who violate the rules, which always reflect the severity of the harm done to the social circle by the child who violated the rules (Slee, 2018).        Functionalists also believed that by clarifying why punitive measures were meted out to rule-breakers, children would gain knowledge to exercise self-control out of fear of punishment and because they could see the harm their deviant behavior caused to the group as a whole (Slee, 2018). Another thing that makes school necessary in civilized societies would be that community cohesion in industrial societies is based primarily on the interconnectivity of specialized skills – the production of a particular product necessitates the collaboration of several specialists. In other words, unity is based on mutual trust between people with a divergent set of skills – and school is the ideal place for kids to develop how to get along with individuals from diverse backgrounds (Zheng, 2018).

           In the family, kids are evaluated by their parents using what he refers to as particularistic standards – such that regulations that only relate to that specific child. Individual kids are assigned tasks based on their various abilities and are evaluated based on their distinct characteristics. Parents frequently modify rules to accommodate their child's unique attributes. Functionalists have presented that schools provide 'the required homogeneity for social survival and the 'required diversity for social cooperation' based on the arguments presented above.







Zheng, R., 2018. What is my role in changing the system? A new model of responsibility for structural injustice. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 21(4), pp.869-885.

Slee, R., 2018. Clauses of conditionality: The 'reasonable accommodation of language. In Disability and Society (pp. 107-122). Routledge.

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