The Teacher’s Role in a Student’s Life

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Most children spend about seven hours a day, in school, which makes it hard to deny the importance school has on their socialization. Students are not only in school to study math, reading, science, and other subjects. also serve a latent function in society by socializing children into behaviors like teamwork, following a schedule, and using textbooks. These kindergarteners aren’t just learning to read and write, they are being socialized to norms like keeping their hands to themselves, standing in line, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. A female teacher is shown sitting in a chair and reading a picture book to a group of children sitting in front of her on the floor. School and classroom rituals, led by teachers serving as role models and leaders, regularly strengthen what society expects from children. Sociologists describe this aspect of schools as the hidden curriculum, the informal teaching done by schools. For example, in the United States, schools have built a sense of competition into the way grades are awarded and the way teachers evaluate students (Bowles and Gintis 1976). When children participate in a relay race or a math contest, they learn that there are winners and losers in society. When children are required to work together on a project, they practice teamwork with other people in cooperative situations. The hidden curriculum prepares children for the adult world. Children learn how to deal with bureaucracy, rules, expectations, waiting their turn, and sitting still for hours during the day. Schools in different cultures socialize children differently in order to prepare them to function well in those cultures. The latent functions of teamwork and dealing with bureaucracy are features of American culture. Schools also socialize children by teaching them about citizenship and national pride. In the United States, children are taught to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Most districts require classes about U.S. history and geography....
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