Functionalist Theory Of Sociological Analysis

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1.1 Introduction:

The Sociology of education can be defined as the study of the relationships between education and society, sociologists of education are said to examine aspects such as school organizations, interaction, the classroom and the peer groups within the educational system. Sociological theories are used as tools to enable the understanding of educational problems. According to Haralambos and Holborn (2012) sociological theories are defined as a set of ideas explaining how society works. In the following essay it will be shown how different sociological theories can be applied in order to help educators within the South African context.
1.2 Functionalist theory:

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) the founder of the functionalist theory
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It is said that indiviudals interpret the physical and symbolic actions of others and therefore act accordingly. Mead believed that there was two different types of communication this includes non-symbolic communication (gestures) and symbolic communication (use of ideas and concepts). The interactionist theory is said to look at the way in which individuals act within a given society. This theory looks at symbols and the way in which we use and interpret symbols not only with regards to communication but also to create and maintain a sense of self.
The interactionist theory is said to help educators as education can be seen as an exchange of knowledge, by this it means that learners are able to help their educators expand their knowledge base as they are believed to exhange skills and knowledge that the other might not have been aware about. The teacher expectancy is also said to help educators as the educators believe about a student will either motivate the student to succeed to their fullest potential or demotivate them based on the teachers opinion on themselves, it can also be said that the interaction between the student and the teacher is a prime way to improve the student overall as they are exposed to scenarios that they may face in the larger

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