Education Sociology and Education While Term Paper
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Symbolic interactionalism thus posits a much more dynamic view of human learning, rather than the rote reception of societal norms in functionalism, or functionalism's belief in education to shape human minds in a pre-determined fashion. But it also is a more positive view of education than conflict theory, because even if there are problematic ideas in the way knowledge is conveyed, human beings may be creative enough to reconfigure preexisting systems of meaning in a liberating fashion. Also it is the individual who chooses how his or her personal liberation and development should take place, not the teacher. "Symbolic interactionalism emphasized several important dimensions of knowledge management through schooling: in school classroom interaction; by the professionalizing of the teaching process; through the bureaucratization of school organization; and, at the cultural level, where the links between the sociology of education and the sociology of knowledge are more immediately visible" (Marshall 1998). But the system and the individual can make choices as to the degree by which those professional and bureaucratic norms are accepted. Ideally, the classroom should make use of its own as well as society's interactions and use of symbols, acknowledging student's unique gifts and the unique dynamics of the classroom.
This is why symbolic interactionalism that offers the most liberating and positive view of the human mind for educators today. It views the student as an active,
creative participant in the learning process -- whenever learning takes place, in a positive or a negative fashion, the student has the power to reshape the knowledge in a new way. The student is not a passive recipient of societal norms, as in functionalism, whose education must be standardized lest he or she be 'left behind.' Nor is the student a passive part of a class conflict with a consciousness that must be awakened in a particular fashion to be liberated from that conflict. The student may be located in culture, but culture, like language itself, is in a continual state of flux, not homeostasis or a dialectical material struggle. Every classroom is its own culture as well. Thus teaching with the theory of symbolic interactionalism in mind fosters the view of education as a dialogue between student and teacher, not a cultural monologue.
Four 20th century theories of education." Excerpt from George F. Kneller. Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. 1962. Excerpt available 2 Jan 2008 at http://people.morehead-st.edu/fs/w.willis/fourtheories.html
McClellan, Kenneth. (2000). "Functionalism." Sociological Theories. Grinnell University.
Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/soc/s00/soc111-01/IntroTheories/Functionalism.html
Marshall, Gordon. (1998). "Sociology of education." Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 from the Dictionary of Sociology
Simmel, Georg. (1903). The Sociology of conflict: I." American Journal of Sociology.
9: 490-525. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Simmel/Simmel_1904a.html
O'Boyle, Kathleen. "Symbolic interactionalism." Ohio University. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~ko371597/symbolic.htm
Warde, W.F. (George Novack). (1960, Winter). "John Dewey's theory of education."
International Socialist Review. 21. 1. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at http://www.marxists.org/archive/novack/works/1960/x03.htm
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