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Social theories affect the social change within the Educational Institution. Ive chosen to my topic to be focused on Education. My personal view on the functionalism, interactionism, and conflict theory is that all three have a direct impact on an individual's attitude, behaviors and or educational success. Society as a whole may or may not use all three theories at any given time, but if it not beneficial to society as a whole any one of these three theories can be seen as fruitless (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). Education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Social institutions impact educational structures, processes, and outcomes. Helping members of society gain knowledge and skills so that they can take care of themselves and build society are essential functions in every culture (Vissing, 2011, n.p.).
From a functionist standpoint Educational Institutes are functional for society for a variety of reasons. "They are socialization agents that teach students culturally relevant core values and norms which are often referred to as Durkeim" (1915/1964), a moral education that helps create a more organized social structure (Vissing, 2011). Educational Institutes today not only provide social control for behavior but also reinforce behaviors that support economic systems and political systems (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). For example: Teacher's help students learn the importance of teamwork, creativity, and obeying authority. Another reason Educational Institutes are considered functional for society is because they reinforce the importance of competition and competiveness, both in the classroom and outside them through recreational and job readiness programs (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). Many Educational Institutions have a strong belief that they promote cultural innovations, and shape attitudes and behaviors of their students; while parents of some students consider that more should be done to gear all students towards success, instead of a select few, (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). Structural-functionalist theorists would note that all societies have some sort of economic system because they are essential to the functioning of society (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). When economic systems work effectively, then all society may benefit (Weber 1904/1959), (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). When they don't, as the economic woes of the early 2000s indicate, there may be a ripple effect that impacts all other social institutions as well (Vissing, 2011, n.p.).
Educational Institutions that utilize the Conflict theory see the purpose of education as preserving social discrimination and stabilizing the power of those who dominate society (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). These Educational Institutions uphold social inequality and is considered to have a form of social control over both thoughts and actions of students. Teachers at these institutions are often taught to train students in the working class to accept the position of a lower-class member of society rather than a course where they are more likely to be rich. "Inequality results in a variety of forms, including structured differences in quality of educational institutions available to the rich versus the poor "(Vissing, 2011, n.p.). For example; big corporations that claim to feed millions of hungry children abroad, when they pocket mass amounts of the funds for themselves. Another example is when wealthy schools highly qualified teachers, with more network resources to enhance their education; while in underprivileged schools, students may be assigned to specific types of coursework, which may limit their educational and professional success. "The type of education a student receives may be small or huge, which in turn may impact their chances of educational, occupational, and social success" (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). However, racial segregation ended in 1972 when congress enacted title IX, which forbids racial discrimination in any education program, but many people still believe it still happens today.
Many Educational Institutions also utilize the Interactionism theory. At these Institutions teachers are observed on how they influence their students, and or how their expectations for their students' performance, attitudes and perceptions influence the student's success. "This is called the self-fulfilling prophecy", (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). My personal view as stated above on the functionalism, interactionism, and conflict theory is that all three have a direct impact on an individual's attitude, behaviors and or educational success. Society as a whole may or may not use all three theories at any given time, but if it not beneficial to society as a whole any one of these three theories can be seen as fruitless. Like the old saying goes, when individuals are expected to do well, they generally do; on the other hand, when individuals aren't expected to succeed, they do not. For example: Some schools promote the wearing of school uniforms to get students away from materialistic values, while other schools allow students to simply wear stylish or trendy clothing. All types of social collectives tend to create rules that help them function. When people follow the rules, then everyone knows what to do and what is expected; when people deviate from normative roles, there may be confusion and essential tasks left undone. The larger the organization or institution, the more complex it is, so more rules are needed to make sure certain activities are accomplished. The smaller the organization, the more likely people are to act in an informal manner. Irrespective of size, people in all institutions seek to obtain power (Lukes, 1986; Powell & DiMaggio, 1991), (Vissing, 2011, n.p.).
In conclusion, the functionalism, interactionism, and conflict theories all have a direct impact on an individual's attitude, behaviors and or educational success. Society as a whole may or may not use all three theories at any given time, but if it not beneficial to society as a whole any one of these three theories can be seen as fruitless. The United States' educational system was regarded as innovative in style and funding and became a model for the rest of the world. After World War II, other nations began building their educational infrastructure and many are producing successes as a result (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). Data has emerged in recent years to indicate that students in the United States do not fare as well as students in other parts of the world, particularly in the areas of math and science (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). This has led to criticism of American schools. It is important to place education in its sociological context, to remind us that education is necessary, but not the sole reason for an individual or society's success (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). Improvement of education is necessary in a world in which there are new and ever-changing technological and career demands (Vissing, 2011, n.p.). It is clear that education must be vibrant and innovative to ensure that students will be productive, enlightened citizens, how to do this and how to pay for it; remain areas of debate (Vissing, 2011, n.p.).