The functionalists were one of the major contributors to the development of the term education. Its representatives believe that the education system is designed to assimilate the values prevailing in society and form a unified national consciousness (Kendell, 2019, p. 214). The major benefit of this theory is that it establishes human beings as entities. It means that a person is able to perform different social roles regardless of the circumstances. In addition, this perspective is advantageous in a way that it promotes positive behaviors and motivates individuals to strive for social achievements. Despite their clearly stated ideas, the opponents thought functionalism was destructive for education as it perpetuated social inequalities instead of eliminating them. It is believed that functionalism also ignores relevant social issues such as bullying or harassment (Kendell, 2019, p. 218). Finally, it focuses more on societal roles instead of concentrating on knowledge acquisition. A person does not need to obtain profound information anymore, but rather behave in a socially agreeable manner to achieve their goals or receive a certain status.
In my opinion, modern post-industrial society is interested in its citizens’ being able to act independently, actively, make decisions, and flexibly adapt to changing living conditions. Viewing the theory from this perspective makes it credible as primary education’s role is to develop individualistic qualities. I believe that it also promotes adequate social behavior norms and does not contribute to the spread of disparities. By this, I mean that the viewpoint itself does not contradict social norms; however, people may choose the incorrect role, resulting in a conflict. In general, its impact on the system is immense as it raises the question of human functioning in society.
Kendell, D. (2019). Social problems in a diverse society (7th ed.). Pearson.