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

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


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