Sociology of Education
Studying The Relationship Between Education And Society
Education is a social institution that sociologists are very interested in studying. This includes teaching formal knowledge such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as teaching other things such as morals, values, and ethics. Education prepares young people for entry into society and is thus a form of socialization. Sociologists want to know how this form of socialization affects and is affected by other social structures, experiences, and outcomes. Sociology of education is a field that focuses on two separate levels of analysis. At a macro-level, sociologists work to identify how various social forces, such as politics, economics, culture, etc., creates variation in schools. In other words, what effects do other social institutions have on the educational system? At a micro-level, sociologists look to identify how variation in school practices lead to differences in individual-level student outcomes. That is, when schools have different teaching methods or have different practices, how does that affect the individual students and what are the individual outcomes? Example of Sociological Studies on Education
A classic study by sociologist James Coleman done in 1966, known as the “Coleman Report” looked at the performance of over 150,000 students and found that student background and socioeconomic status were much more important in determining educational outcomes than were differences in school resources, such as per pupil spending. He also found that socially disadvantaged black students benefited and did better in school when they were in racially mixed classrooms rather than black only classrooms. This ignited controversy that still continues today. Major Sociological Theories of Education
Like any other topic in sociology, the three major theoretical perspectives (functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction theory) each have different views on...
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