Functionalists adopt a consensus view of society, that is, one based on harmony and agreement between its members. They emphasize the positive aspects of education, for example, history teaches students about a shared heritage and culture and PSHE teaches them about responsible citizenship.

As a starter activity, students could be divided into groups and assigned a subject they have studied at school. They can then work together to identify ways in which Functionalists would see the study of that subject as being beneficial for both individuals and society. 

A useful overview of the Functionalist view of education can be found here:

Discover More The New Right and Education

This highlights a range of useful key terms including role allocation. A simple fill in the gaps evaluation of functionalist views on education can then be found here

Discover More Criticisms of the Functionalist Perspective on Education

For independent study, students could make use of the following blog:

Discover More Functionalist Theories of Education

This covers the work of a range of key functionalist writers including Durkheim, Parsons, Merton and Davis & Moore. Throughout the text are some key thinking points which could be used as a basis for discussions in the next class or via an Edmodo group discussion.

Discover More Learning Made Social


More Resources from Discover Sociology


Some useful background reading for use as a flipped resource for the lesson can be found here: ..

Theory Teacher Resource

Is Sociology a Science?

‘Is Sociology a Science?’ has been a popular past question for all major exam boards and so ther..

Theory Teacher Resource

Looking Glass Self

A key idea that contributed to the development of Symbolic Interactionism is the work of the Soc..

Theory Teacher Resource


The lesson could begin by asking students to write down everything they think they already know ..

Theory Teacher Resource


Slide two on the following presentation gives a good overview of key ideas in relation to modern..

Theory Teacher Resource


Prior to the lesson, ask students to watch the following video and write down the key ideas asso..

Theory Teacher Resource

Research Speed-Dating

The idea for a speed dating type session came from this blog post see link below:..

Theory Teacher Resource

Symbolic Interactionism

This is a clear overview of a perspective students often find tricky; and in particular the tree..

Theory Teacher Resource

The Enlightenment

An important precursor to modernity was The Enlightenment. The Open University has a wide range ..

Theory Teacher Resource

Value Freedom

In 2009, the media extensively covered a debate as to whether the BBC should allow the BNP to be..

Theory Teacher Resource