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, *****, and ***** all have a variety ***** strengths and weaknesses in providing guidance for the ***** theorist as well ***** the teacher in the field, ***** theory ***** is most useful for contemporary educators to embrace in today's changing multicultural and multifaceted social environment is that of the postmodern paradigm.

When comparing ***** relative strengths of functionalism, interpretivism, 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" of society as living organism." Society is segmented into "several parts and organs, gro*****ed and organized into a system," *****nd individuals function as "various parts and organs" ***** sustain ***** organism and keep its life processes in a state of motion. (McClellan, 2000, "Functionalism") It has the advantage ***** attempting to be rigorously objective in ***** application of the scientific method to individual ***** society, like a doc*****r viewing a body. Its stress on societal values may ***** helpful ***** a teacher as functi*****alists "look at the ways in which the various parts of society," ***** organs ***** the body, "contribute to bringing about ***** order" in an effort ***** create a society based on a common v*****lue system in the classroom. (Hewett, 2006) In contrast, "interpretivism" also attempts to create a community of common *****, *****lthough it "rests upon idealism. Idealism holds the view that ***** world is the creation ***** mind," not an ***** truth. But this means ***** ***** educator ***** shape the world of the classroom by adjusting his or her subjective ***** ***** his ***** her students in creating a class community. The teacher and ***** are both able to change, in the subjective interpretivism model of ***** *****. ("Interpretivism," 2006) But it should be *****ed that even postmodernism's stress upon the fact that there is no one, unified perspective in terms ***** seeing the world is helpful in creat*****g a common community of toler*****nce of individual differences. In *****, an educator attempting to teach a ***** *****room may wish for a theory that attempts to acknowledge 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 the advantage ***** objectively underst*****ing how his ***** her student's social ***** ***** negatively or positively impact their education, and thus gain a more detached perspective as to how to circumvent the fac*****rs that arise from poverty or peer ***** p*****nt pressure. Interpretivism, in *****, would reject ***** idea ***** sociology and education should strive to emulate natural science methods of pure objectivity ***** argue that these functionalist methods are ***** applic***** ***** the study of


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