The Conflict Theory of Education and How It Works

Conflict Theory of Education. Conflict theory posits that conflict is a fundamental part of the social order, and that schools are a critical site in the reproduction of social inequality, particularly class conflict and racial stratification.

Education & Conflict Theory

How does conflict theory of education work?

Understanding how social structure affects children in the public school system is made easier with the help of the conflict theory of education. Conflict theory can help you comprehend how a child’s experiences in public school may affect them for the rest of their lives. You can examine the groups that exist within the environment you’re applying the conflict theory to in education by doing so. You can create theories about the conflicts that exist among the different social groups by identifying them, whether you do so based on their socioeconomic status, race, or gender.

Applying the conflict theory of education requires understanding the specifics of the conflict between these groups. According to the theory, conflict arises because there are scarce resources and different groups must engage in conflict to obtain them. You can think of different groups of students as competitors for resources in an educational setting, such as the teachers’ time and attention.

What is conflict theory of education?

An ideology known as “conflict theory of education” focuses specifically on how conflict theory works in educational contexts like classrooms and schools. Those who are socioeconomically fortunate typically receive better education and overcome fewer obstacles to finish their education. Conflict theorists think that because of this, there is conflict between these socioeconomic groups. Conflict theorists might also think that social hierarchies are preserved by conflict in public school systems.

What is tracking in conflict theory of education?

Tracking is a type of educational system where teachers and administrators divide students into different groups based on their academic abilities, such as gifted student programs and learning recovery programs. One tracking strategy is reading recovery, in which teachers spend more time teaching students how to read at the same level as their peers. Although labeling students may make them behave in accordance with these labels for the rest of their lives, it would allow gifted students to develop their abilities and struggling students to receive the support they require.

Why is conflict theory of education important?

The conflict theory of education is crucial because it enables researchers to identify and work to undermine the structures that prevent disadvantaged children from receiving equal access to educational opportunities. Since their parents or guardians may work long hours, children from lower-income families frequently lack access to the necessary books and technology. They also have less time to assist their children with their schoolwork and participate in their education. One approach to comprehending the emergence of inequality in a classroom or school is the conflict theory of education.

Examples of applying conflict theory

When you use conflict theory in educational settings, you can recognize and comprehend the difficulties that exist between different social groups and how those difficulties can lead to social injustice. When applying conflict theory to public education, you might run into some of the following situations:

Richer areas may receive more funding

Property taxes are the main source of funding for public schools, with a small amount coming from the government. This can be a problem because it suggests that wealthier areas might have better schools. When these students are adults, they will have a better chance to find a high-paying job because these schools can give them a higher quality education. This suggests that they might eventually relocate to a more affluent area and decide to enroll their kids in a better school. It becomes more challenging for poorer neighborhoods to deliver quality education and support their students’ success as the cycle continues.

First-generation college students

Children who grow up in families where a high percentage of family members have gone to college are much more likely to do the same. Families with many college-educated members have accrued cultural capital, which is the privilege of being knowledgeable about particular topics or procedures. In this instance, these families are more accustomed to the application process, the admissions procedure, and the process of applying for financial aid. As a result, they are more likely to apply for and be awarded scholarships. For kids from families where few or none of the adults have gone to college, these things may act as barriers.

Imperfect standardized testing

Standardized tests are frequently better suited for some demographics than others, and they may not accurately reflect the skills and talents of minority groups. Due to this, it is more difficult for people from minority groups to achieve high marks and the benefits that go along with them.

Unequal disciplinary action

For minor infractions, some groups of people are more likely to receive punishments like expulsion or suspension from school. These sanctions may cause teachers and peers to refer to the students as troublemakers. Absence from school can also prevent a child from picking up crucial subject material, which can lead to a downward spiral in performance and attendance. Minority groups are exposed to the legal system earlier because schools are more likely to involve authorities in disputes involving them.

FAQs for conflict theory of education

Here are some frequently asked questions and responses about the conflict theory of education:

What are the criticisms of conflict theory of education?

Conflict theory has received a lot of criticism for emphasizing too many unfavorable aspects of human interaction. Conflict theory, according to some critics, creates an entire ideology around human flaws and faults rather than emphasizing the good aspects of people and social interactions because conflict theory assumes that humans are inherently good. Some critics may assert that individuals do not always act solely in pursuit of financial gain and that individuals can show kindness to one another without being compensated.

What kinds of questions do conflict theorists ask?

Conflict theorists pose queries to help them comprehend social contexts and the implications of power dynamics. These inquiries are crucial for understanding the effects of conflict, particularly in light of how they affect educational institutions and learning environments. Administrators may be able to recognize these effects and offer a solution by looking for the answers to these questions.

Conflict theorists, for instance, might inquire as to what social groups are present in a circumstance and what types of social differences cause those groups to exist. Once the groups have been identified, they may inquire as to how conflict arises between the groups and the nature of the conflict. They might also inquire as to what those conflicts’ long-term consequences are.

What are the limitations of conflict theory of education?

Conflict theory assumes that society is constantly changing in the broadest sense. Therefore, competition, revolution, structural inequality, and war are the four central tenets of conflict theory. Because these presumptions are challenging to apply to educational systems and specific classrooms, conflict theory of education has some significant limitations. Critics of conflict theory also contend that it is mistaken to think that conflict is the primary cause of social reactions because society has been comparatively stable for so long.


What are the main points of conflict theory?

The four main tenets of contemporary conflict theory—competition, revolution, structural inequality, and war—can be understood.

What does conflict theory argue about the role of schools?

While conflict theorists contend that schools are sorted along distinct racial and class lines, functionalists assert that schools are sorted on the basis of merit. Conflict theorists contend that educational institutions prepare members of the working class to accept their status as social outcasts.

What are the 3 conflict theories?

Conflict theory has three assumptions: Humans are self-interested. Societies operate under perpetual scarcity of resources. Within and between social groups, conflict is common and inevitable.

What is meant by conflict theory?

The term “conflict theory” refers to a broad range of sociological perspectives that reject functionalism and hold that competition between groups for access to scarce resources is a fundamental aspect of all societies.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *