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Name Ngonidzashe Surname Mushaikwa The relationship between society, education, school and the classroom In order to understand

the relationship between society, education school and the classroom, I am going to discuss the functionalist and the liberal perspectives to the role of the school in relation to the society. The differences between these perspectives is that functionalists view education as serving the societys interests yet the liberals view education as serving individuals interests. The functionalist perspective views education and schools roles as representing the society, where norms and values are transmitted. Theorists such as Durkheim and Parsons only looked at the advantages of education in society. Durkheim argues that it is only through education or schooling that the society can survive. This is true in most curricular that the vision of the country is reinforced through education aiming at harmonizing the population, for survival and growth of the economy. Durkheim further asserts that education serves to pass on societal solidarity whereby a child seizes to operate for the self but for the society which is patriotism. His further argument is that through schooling a child develops an attachment to society. In this a child aims at giving her/his best part to the society. This is true in a sense because it is at school that national anthems are drilled and the countrys history is taught reinforcing the need for young adults to serve in the defense forces. That is the reason why all countries are able to recruit women and men to join the army and defend their countries. It is through schools that careers available in the country are discussed through subject choices. Education also plays other very important roles in socialising the learner by using a common curriculum, the norms and values which are cherished by the society are instilled in learners. This is so because schools are set up as miniature societies with rules and leaders amongst the learners themselves and teachers playing different roles which are similar in societies that learners live, they are given roles to perform and guide others to conform to school/classroom rules. At school when children are elected into leadership positions, they are already being prepared for the future. Therefore a teacher plays an important role of identifying these future leaders without bias. Furthermore they assert that education promotes important values of the society. They further argue that whereas being in a family is by kin, belonging to a peer group depends upon choice. Therefore belonging to a society is by conformity to its norms and values. All these are learnt at school. Children learn how to be responsible citizens in a society, by following rules that a school has as a miniature society. There are rewards awarded to those who outperform at school and also punishment for transgressors. In this way, children are being socialized into responsible citizenry and in the end it is

hoped that there will be social cohesion amongst people of different cultural beliefs and backgrounds. The South African people were divided under apartheid rule and this was done through the education system which supported White only schools mostly for best education in what were formerly known as group C schools and other races got little or no government aid at all. Parsons (1950) argues that After the primary socialization in the family, the school takes over as a focal socialising agency. This argument is true especially in the South African context where crime and drug abuse is rife. The curricular are inundated with topics that try to teach good behaviour by conscientising learners about dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in social sciences and in the life orientation learning areas. The aim is to bring awareness to children who are the leaders of tomorrow about equal rights and respect of the self and others so that discrimination will become a thing of the past. The liberal perspective views education as serving the interests of individuals as compared to societal interests. Dewey and others argue against rote learning but advocates for progressive methods of teaching and for learners to be involved in their own learning, they believe will in turn develop skills in learners and habits which they can use to solve varied problems in life. They also assert that liberal education is suitable in a successful democracy, their argument is that since the power belongs to the people in a democracy, the education must develop learners as individuals who are critical in thinking and can apply their minds independently. They also argue that success or failure in educational achievement should rest with individuals and not with the government. I however disagree with the last statement because the system has to lay ground rules and make learning environments safe for all especially in this country where schools experience some violent attacks from learners who are gangsters and so on. The outcome based education which was adopted by the South African government was influenced by the liberal perspective and aimed at developing in learners independent and critical thinkers hence educators mediate learning and a learner is at the centre of the learning process thus teachers have to study educational psychology during training to learn about psychologists such as Vygotsky and Feuerstein who advocates for the Zone of proximal development and (ZPD) and the mediated learning experience (MLE) respectively. In their views, they believe that a teacher should take a mediators role whilst learners take the centre stage in learning. I do agree with these two perspectives to education in that education is aimed at addressing national needs and also developing independent individuals who can take up positions in the society to develop the areas they live and improve their livelihood in turn. Reference: Haralambos, M. & Holborn, M. (1991) Education, in Sociology, Themes and
perspectives, 3rd Edition, Collins educational, London.