Essay - Social Theories of Education and Learning: Functionalism, Interpretivism, & Postmodernism...

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Social Theories of Education and Learning: functionalism, interpretivism, & postmodernism

No social theory can totally encompass the complexities of human behavior, particularly, a teacher might add, the complexities of the different student personalities that make up a classroom's social environment! But while ***** social theories of functionalism, interpretivism, and ***** all have a variety of strengths and weaknesses in providing guidance for the ***** theorist as well ***** the teacher in the field, the theory that is most useful ***** contemporary educators to embrace in today's changing multicultural and multifaceted social ***** is that of the postmodern paradigm.

When comparing ***** relative strengths of functionalism, *****, and postmodernism, one must begin with functionalism, as it remains the oldest, and still the dominant, theoretical perspective in social theory. "Underlying functionalist theory is the fundamental metaphor" ***** society ***** living organism." Society is segmented into "several parts and organs, gro*****ed ***** organized into a system," *****nd individuals function as "various parts and organs" ***** sustain ***** organism ***** keep its life processes in a st*****te of motion. (McClellan, 2000, "Functionalism") It has the advantage of attempting to be rigorously objective in its application of the scientific method to individual and *****, like a doctor viewing a body. Its stress on societ*****l values may be helpful for a ***** as *****alists "look at the ways in which the ***** parts ***** society," like organs of the body, "c*****tribute to bringing about ***** order" in an effort ***** cre*****e a society based on a common value system in the classroom. (Hewett, 2006) In contrast, "interpretivism" also attempts to create a community ***** common **********, although it "rests upon idealism. Idealism holds the view that the world is the creation of mind," not an objective truth. But this means that ***** educator ***** shape the ***** of ***** ***** by adjusting his or her subjective perspective ***** his ***** her ********** in creating a class commun*****y. The teacher ***** students are both able to change, in the ***** interpretivism model of the classroom. ("Interpretivism," *****) ***** it should be added that even postmodernism's stress upon the fact ***** there is no one, unified perspective in terms of see*****g the world is helpful in ***** a common commun*****y ***** tolerance of individual differences. In fact, an educator attempting to teach a multicultural ***** may wish for a ***** that attempts to ack*****wledge the different backgrounds students come from as well as their common connection in the society of a classroom.

True, a functionalist educator might stress he or she has ***** ***** of *****ly understanding how his ***** her student's social environment ***** negatively or positively impact ***** education, and thus gain a more detached perspective as to how to circumvent the factors that arise from poverty or peer and parent pressure. *****terpretivism, in contrast, would reject ***** idea that sociology and education should strive to emulate natural science methods of pure objectivity and argue that these functionalist methods are ***** applic***** to the study of


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