Education Introduction

Education is both a useful and difficult topic to approach with students, as it is something that all will have (currently) first-hand experience of and probably some firmly set ideas and opinions.

The Role of Education in Society

This topic is therefore useful as it allows students to apply, what can sometimes be quite abstract, sociological theory, to something they have lived and have current experience of. However, equally, the study of education is also an area where students can employ their 'sociological imagination'; that is to say, step back and out of their shoes, and understand that what affects them (their 'personal troubles') may be the result of wider social forces ('public issues'), and also, understand that not everyone will experience the education same in the same way.

This section begins by considering the function of education in society by looking at what is the role of education? It then offers resources on Marxist, Functionalist and New Right theories on education. It next turns to patterns and trends in education, looking first at gender and then ethnicity and class in education. Next we consider subcultures in education, the correspondence principle and laddism in higher education. Finally, we offer ideas for class material on education policies, and specifically: the tripartite system, cross-cultural comparison of education, the comprehensive system, the New Deal, the Gove legacy and current party positions.

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