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 ***** environment! But while ***** social theories of functionalism, interpretivism, and postmodernism all have a variety of strengths and weaknesses in providing guidance for the ***** theorist as well as 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, ***** it remains the oldest, and still the dominant, theoretical perspective in social theory. "Underlying functionalist theory is the fundamental metaphor" of society as living organism." Society is segmented into "several parts and organs, grouped ***** organized into a system," *****nd individuals function as "various parts and organs" ***** sustain the 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 ***** application of the scientific method to individual and society, like a doctor viewing a body. Its stress on societ*****l values may be helpful for a ***** as ********** "look at the ways in which the ***** parts of society," like organs ***** the body, "contribute to bringing about social order" in an effort to create a society b*****sed on a common value system in the classroom. (Hewett, 2006) In contrast, "*****terpretivism" also attempts to create a community of common *****s, *****lthough it "rests upon idealism. Idealism holds the view that the world is the creation ***** mind," not an ***** truth. But this means ***** ***** educator can shape the ***** of ***** classroom by adjusting his or her subjective ***** ***** his or her ********** in creating a class community. The teacher ***** students are both able to change, in the ***** interpretivism model of the *****. ("Interpretivism," 2006) But it should be added that even *****'s stress ***** the fact ***** there is no one, unified perspective in terms ***** seeing the w*****ld is helpful in ***** a common commun*****y of toler*****nce of individual differences. In fact, an educator attempting to teach a ***** *****room may w*****h 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 ***** adv*****tage of objectively understanding how his ***** her student's social environment may negatively or positively impact ***** education, and thus gain a more detached perspective as to how to circumvent the factors that arise ***** poverty or peer ***** p*****nt pressure. Interpretivism, in contrast, would reject ***** idea ***** sociology and education should strive to emulate natural science methods of pure objectivity and argue that these functionalist methods are not applic***** to the study of


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