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Functionalism, Conflict, and Internationalism Essay

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The three theories I plan to discuss are Functionalism, Conflict, and Internationalism with education. The need for these theories is what actually makes the system in education work, with the teachers, parents, school boards and committees the institution of education continues to function. The first theory is Functionalism and is about the study by Lawrence Kohlberg. It has been forty-three years since Lawrence Kohlberg published his doctoral dissertation characterizing six stages of moral development and fourteen years since his death.

During this period, much has been written that has discredited stage theory and the overarching use of justice as a “first principle” of moral development. Yet Kohlberg’s evolving moral theory continues to be used as a theoretical basis for moral development research and to influence teacher education. While some educators have dismissed Kohlberg’s approach as wooden and “fossilized,” it continues to be central to what teachers know about, and how they think about, moral development. 2]

Indeed, one author suggests that “every psychology textbook published in the last quarter-century touches upon Kohlberg’s work. “[3] This consistent message, coupled with continued public talk about character development and moral education in schools, makes it likely that Kohlberg’s stage theory continues to influence classroom practice, consciously and unconsciously, across the United States, Henry, (2001). By exposing the structural-functionalist roots of Kohlberg’s theory, this essay raises concerns about the application of Kohlberg’s ideas in the classroom.

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Fundamentally, Kohlberg focuses on individual development, a universal conception of justice, and universalizability do not translate well to the institutional-level application that he hoped his Just Community Schools would provide. What Kohlberg failed to realize was that a collection of individuals using a Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism in Education universal conception of justice in consistent ways across situations (morally mature individuals by Kohlberg’s standards) did not necessarily create a moral community.

In a moral community, the degree to which individuals have grown along a continuum of moral development should not be of greater importance than the ability of community members to work together to detect and solve moral problems. Henry, (2001) Foundational to the Just Community model was Kohlberg’s belief that schools were important locations for the socialization of children into broader society. School was a child’s first formal introduction into society at large. By going to school “the child learns to fill the expected public roles of a member of his society” (LKA, 21).

Part of the power of schooling was the teaching of lessons necessary for successful life outside of school. In particular, Kohlberg stressed that students needed to gain an increased awareness of themselves in categorical terms. [7] In other words, he and his colleagues claimed that students needed to learn the categorical expectations to which they would be held publicly accountable and that school had an important function to play in teaching these lessons: [T]he child has to learn to be one among a crowd of peers in a classroom that is run by a relative impersonal authority figure who gives orders a power to wield praise and blame.

What the child learns about how to handle “the crowds, the praise, and the power” will, from this point of view, give shape to her public morality: her conception of how one ought to act to get along and even prosper in the public domain (LKA, 21). Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism in Education These statements make it clear that Kohlberg saw schools as important locations for gradually imbuing children with the expectations they would meet as adults, Henry, (2001). While Kohlberg was focused on the individual the theory of functionalism doesn’t work.

It works as a whole at a much larger level, the macro level, the institution of the schools. These system need function to run and for student to learn. With this in place there would dis-function children would not be able to learn and through the learning they learn how to enter into society and act accordingly in their roles into adulthood. The theory of Conflict in regards to education they are there, but one that comes to mind is the quality of the education that is given to students today.

All the students are not looked at the same, if they come from a poor family or a minority family they are not thought of as equal in intelligence as the white middle to higher class of student. According to Conflict Theory, society is: A struggle for dominance among competing social groups (classes, genders, races, religions, etc. ). When conflict theorists look at society, they see the social domination of subordinate groups through the power, authority, and coercion of dominant groups.

In the conflict view, the most powerful members of dominant groups create the rules for success and opportunity in society, often denying subordinate groups such success and opportunities; this ensures that the powerful continue to monopolize power, privilege, and authority. You should note that most conflict theorists oppose this sort of coercion and favor a more equal social order. Some support a complete socioeconomic revolution to socialism (Marx), while others are more reformist, or perhaps do not see all social inequalities stemming from the capitalist system

Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism in Educational (they believe we could solve racial, gender, and class inequality without turning to socialism). However, many conflict theorists focus on capitalism as the source of social inequalities. The primary cause of social problems, according to the conflict perspective, is the exploitation and oppression of subordinate groups by dominants. Conflict theorists generally view oppression and inequality as wrong, whereas Structural-Functionalists may see it as necessary for the smooth running and integration of society.

Structural-Functionalism and Conflict Theory therefore have different value orientations but can lead to similar insights about inequality (e. g. , they both believe that stereotypes and discrimination benefit dominant groups, but conflict theorists say this should end and most structural-functionalists believe it makes perfect sense that subordinates should be discriminated against, since it serves positive social ends). Conflict theory sees social change as rapid, continuous, and inevitable as groups seek to replace each other in the social hierarchy, McLeod, (2004).

In contrast to Structural-Functionalists, who argue that the most talented individuals occupy the highest positions, conflict theorists argue that dominant groups monopolize positions of power, maintaining power from generation to generation and keeping subordinate groups out. Also in contrast to Structural-Functionalists, who argue that the most important positions in society are the best rewarded, conflict theorists argue that dominant groups get inordinate power to define which positions are socially rewarded.

Highly-paid positions are not necessarily most important for society, they argue, but keep power in the hands of the privileged and powerful, McLeod, (2004). If conflict theory really see social change coming than that may mean the educators of this country may be starting to focus on the student and their intelligence instead of their financial status or race. Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism in Education The last theory Interactionism theory views society as the product of individuals’ interaction with each other.

Through the process of socialization, people learn values, attitudes, and actions that they deem to be correct. People are exposed to a set of reinforcements to maintain or change those views and actions. Learning theory helps explain why people view others in particular ways, such as who is good and who is bad. Our views may have little to do with objective reality. Learning theory may also explain the process in which people come to engage in behaviors that others find problematic, such as embezzling or prostitution.

As Sutherland (1940) notes, people learn the motivations, beliefs, and actions to engage in behaviors that some may find problematic. Labeling theory explores how people socially construct reality. People in positions of power and authority have the ability to label an activity as problematic or acceptable; people in lower social positions are less likely to persuade others to stick with their definition of the situation.

This is why elites are able to define a situation that benefits them as good, while others may regard it as troublesome. It also helps explain why people in lower classes are more likely to be perceived as the cause of problems, and why elites escape that definition. The reality of any social situation depends on how people define it. For example, when college students drink alcohol, is it partying, is it normal, is it binge drinking, is it alcohol abuse, are they a social drinker, a problem drinker, do they use it or abuse it?

We may wish to determine how we will label the alcohol consumption based on when they drink, with whom they drink, how much they drink, what they drink, and what they do when they are drinking. Is the drinking a personal problem, a campus problem, or a social problem? These distinctions areFunctionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism in Education determined arbitrarily through the process of labeling. Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism underlying conditions probably existed for a long time before it was identified as an issue.

The disagreement over whether something is a problem, how much of a problem it is, what and who caused it, and how it should be addressed is all a product of social construction created through the process of interaction, Vissing, (2011). I believe that between parents, teachers, students and the communities if they would allow each of themselves to be treated as people, students and human beings the educational process would be easier and more pleasurable experience and a happier and healthier environment.

I know that is an impossibility but if were something even a few people would work at it may change the educational field a little bit at a time. To bring these three theories together to have a functional system, bring students in as one instead of the higher class and more social and control the groups of kids and the way they stand against each other there might be a chance to bring our education back on line and educate the students the way they should be educated and ready for the world after high school.

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