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Sociology Assignment - Poem by Innocent Masina Nkhonyo
THE APPLICATION OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION IN CLASSROOM TEACHING
Sociology of education, as defined by Pavalko (1976) , is the scientific analysis of the social processes and patterns involved in the educational system. It is concerned with educational aims, methods, and institutions in relation to social and cultural forces of the society in which they function. This assumes that education is a combination of social acts and it deals with human interaction. In the education of the individual, it concerns the influence of social life and social relationships on the development of personality. Sociology of education is very significant as it introduces a teacher to a collection of techniques that are required in classroom teaching. Such techniques include; understanding and applying interaction in the classroom, the disposition of norms to the students by the teachers, understanding teacher-student relationship and communication, provision of career guidance and finally understanding social roles of teachers and students. This essay, therefore, discusses how we, as teachers to be, can apply the above sociological techniques in classroom teaching in secondary schools.
A classroom, like any other social group, requires all the members to participate and interact with each other for a common goal. A teacher as a leader in the classroom can make sure that there is interaction among his/her students by forming study groups or circles. In these study circles there is mutual influence and benefit among students since students can participate in the discussions that the group undertakes. Interaction in these groups can be cooperative and competitive among students (Ottaway,1960) .
In these groups members are in face to face interaction with each other and there are a small number of participants, this encourages the students to speak out their minds on a given topic. This is so because in a small group every student is given a chance to express himself/herself as compared to the whole class. This gives a chance to some students who can not express themselves fully when there are many people around them. This helps students to build self confidence since their views can be heard by their peers. It also builds a habit of doing things together as a result there is unity among members of the group (Ashley et. al.,1970) .
In this case, the teacher as a leader in the classroom does not dominate in the classroom activities but rather just controls the thoughts and behaviour of his pupils and sets the tone of the interaction patterns in the classroom. The teacher is also there to facilitate in the discussions. However, a teacher needs not to always be present in these groups since some students may not interact fully in the presence of their teacher than their peers. In this case, indirect control from a teacher may be more effective than direct (Ottaway,1960) .
Sociology of education analyzes the sociological processes that have a bearing in the education system. One of such sociological processes is the disposition of norms that a teacher imparts in his/her students through interaction in class. The students’ awareness of these norms facilitates the teaching process, on the part of the teacher, and the learning process on the part of students. The impartation of norms on the students is referred to as the hidden curriculum because it is not included on the formal curriculum. Though not included on paper, the students are supposed to know these norms because the way they conduct themselves in class (morally) will affect the teaching and learning processes either positively or negatively. For instance, some students may choose not to cooperate in taking assignments. This tendency may be triggered by the students’ lack of proper direction in their behavior that departs from the values and norms that guide the society. Such students if not handled professionally by the teacher may cause havoc in class. This is where sociology of education becomes vital to classroom management in secondary schools. In sociology of education a teacher learns how to manage students, both those who are morally upright and those morally decayed.
Sociology of education also instructs teachers to be exemplary. The teaching ethics are also very clear on this point as Ashley et al. (1970) declare that teaching professional training emphasizes moral virtues and exemplary behavior on the part of teachers. They have to behave, dress and speak as role models. True to that proverb that says “action speaks louder than words”, teacher’s behavior will have a great impact on the conduct of his/her students. If the teacher is not morally upright the students are likely to be like him/her in their conduct. One other point that may help curb indiscipline in students is through the provision of enough work to keep the students busy. This is helpful because when the students are idle they tend to misbehave (Abromitis,2009) .
TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIP AND COMMUNICATION
The maintenance of a harmonious social relationship between a teacher and those undergoing socialization (students) , is one of the applications of sociology of education in a classroom. The social interaction within the classroom will help teachers understand the psychological variables that affect the social behaviour of students. For instance, a student’s performance may be affected by poverty and funeral at home among other things. This stresses that each individual is a member of a wide family and gets influenced by social and cultural factors as well. A teacher, therefore, is supposed to identify those students who are not doing well in class as expected and try to find the source of their problems and counsel them accordingly. For instance, sociology of education enables a teacher to establish the real cause of impoliteness in some students that even cause destructions during classes. A teacher does this through inquiries that he/she makes about the naughty students’ back ground that sometimes may be responsible for the students’ bad behavior.
The teacher’s awareness of such backgrounds will enable him/her to know where to start the intervention of shaping the behavior of students. When the good behavior of once ill-mannered students is restored, the teaching and learning processes go smoothly. This suggests that there should be a good communication and interaction between teachers and students. However, Zeleny (1948) as cited in Pavalko (1976) warns that the teacher should not be too friendly with the students. This is because it will be very difficult to provide counseling to them and eventually fail to induce changed behaviour when they go wrong.
A school as a social institution is expected to produce people who are reliable for continuity of a society as far as leadership and management of social institutions is concerned. In view of this, we can say it is important for teachers to include lessons in decision-making and career guidance. Though career guidance is over looked by many schools, it plays an important role. Harris (1999) says career guidance helps students to identify the work-related competences they are developing through the various school subjects and relate them to their career planning. In short, career guidance acts as an advocate for students in establishing their career ladders.
Career guidance needs enforcement because not all students are aware of the different job opportunities that are in the corporate world. For instance, asking children from rural areas about their ambitions, most of them will talk about nursing and teaching as opposed to those from urban areas who will talk of becoming, a pilot, an accountant, a lawyer and many more. This is due to parents’ or guardians’ ‘level of education and children’s exposure to media or other sources of information. Therefore, a teacher should not take it for granted that all students are aware about careers.
A teacher can impart career lessons through different ways. First of all, a teacher needs to include in his or her curriculum a special time at least 20 to 30 minutes per week for career lessons (Harris,1999) . In a classroom, a teacher may use personal approach, where he or she can ask students of their ambitions and provide information on the requirements and the institution(s) that offer(s) them. Secondly, a teacher can use interactive and experimental exercises, where he or she can put students into groups and ask them to interview different personnel on their professions and how they managed to achieve them. Afterwards students can present their findings to a class. Apart from motivating students, this method can also promote interaction between students and the community.
SOCIAL ROLES OF TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
Social role is among the five basic concepts in the sociology of education. A social role is a behavior appropriate to a particular position in a social group. A classroom as a sub-social system has actors and participants, who are teachers and students respectively. Sociology of education enables a teacher to realize his/her role and at the same time helps the students realize theirs. The teacher playing his/her role has to teach and encourage the students to learn. The role of a teacher is really a combination of sub-roles which the skillful teacher fits to produce a useful pattern of teaching. One of these sub-roles includes, being an instructor, whereby the teacher gives instructions and shows the students in a classroom how to learn and answer questions. This is the role the teacher prepares for, explicitly and directly. On the other hand, the students on their part have to listen, attend classes, submit assignments regularly and take examinations. Cooperation demands high degree of predictability of conduct and requires that individuals should make personal sacrifices in favour of societal expectations. In other words, where a teacher’s personal interests or commitments are in conflict with his or her role as a teacher, his/her personal interests have to give way to his/her teaching role (Ezewu,1983) .
There is a social and a personal aspect of every role that is significant to an individual. For instance, a person learns the expected and rewarded behaviour for each role. Students learn when to give priority to a particular role. In a classroom situation, the students learn to take the role of a pupil most of the time rather than the role of a playmate. (Havighurst et al.,1963) .
After discussing the above sociological techniques we have the audacity to conclude that Sociology of education adds to the teacher’s kit of intellectual tools. In this case, a set of sociological insights and concepts that will allow him/her to take account in his decision-making organization, cultural and interpersonal factors at work in his/her environment. Therefore, Sociology of education is essential as it equips teachers with great knowledge on how to socialize their students in a classroom situation in secondary schools.
LIST OF REFERENCES.
Abromitis, B. (2009, Feb 27) .Teachers Creating an effective learning Environment in a
monitored Classroom; Sociology of Education. www.google.com.
Ashley, J.B., Cohen, S.H., & Slatter, R.G. (1970) . An Introduction to the Sociology of
Education. Macmillan and Co Ltd: London & Basingstoke, pp.117-139
Ezewu, E.B.A. (1983) . Sociology of Education. Longman: London, pp.13-14
Harris, S. (1999) . Careers education: contesting policy and practice. Sage
Publications Ltd. London, p.13
Havighurst, R.J., Hunt, C.H., Wrenn.G.C, Kirk, S.A & Vantil, W. (1963) . The sociology of Education; Becoming an Educator. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, p.93
Ottaway, A.K.C. (1960) . An Introduction to the Sociology of Education. Humanities Press: New York, pp.3-6
Pavalko, R. M.N. (1976) . Sociology of education, (2nd ed.) Peacock publishers
INC.: Florida, pp.23-30.
Comments about Sociology Assignment by Innocent Masina Nkhonyo
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