In reviewing the different functions of education, of which there are several. From formal to informal each is important as the next in an individual’s development and future function in society. The function of formal education consists of learning skills and gaining knowledge, i. e. , reading, math, history, science, languages to name just a few. Outside of the more necessary function of education is socialization, future preparation, and economic functions. My K-12 education has spanned from primary school both private and public, secondary, and vocational.
Starting my educational career in private school led to not only the more formal aspects of learning but also informal. Religion though not the main focus of the school played a heavy part in the first years of my socialization and integration into educational atmosphere. This was widely shown in the hidden curriculum of the private school I attended. A hidden curriculum is where administrators, teachers, and school counselors for example have standards of behavior that they want students to adhere too (Manza et al. , 2013, p. 416).
There were many hidden rules within this school from dressing a certain way, prayer, establishing gender roles, and obeying authority. Looking back through the lens of a sociological perspective the hidden curriculum is plain to see and understand. These things were not written rules, were not told to us, or taught in the formal curriculum they were examples that were shown with subtle words, looks, and attention. Six months into the third grade my parents moved me to a public school. This brought a drastic change to my education and future preparation.
Public school was vastly different and shocking to me as large parts of my formal education, informal education, and hidden curriculum changed. This set me up for future issues that could not have been foreseen at the time. My socialization in the public schools was difficult; on the outside the teachers were supportive and kind but the fact was I came in on an established class from a parochial school. My formal education was the first noticeable difference;
I was further along academically than most students in the class and this put me at the disadvantage. The teacher forced me to “dumb down”, I further observed favoritism put on those students who performed to the teacher and staffs perfect expectations. Being an introvert who was frustrated by the lack of challenging work but was reluctant to speak up due to teacher and staff attitudes, which according to Wren (1999) “The hidden curriculum can also promote student reluctance to challenge teachers on educational issues” (p. 595) seems to be normal and one of the negative effects of hidden curriculum.
I was not one who focused on sports, or the identity the public school wanted for me which made socialization difficult. This continued through till secondary school, in the summer between 10th and 11th grade I decided my path would be different and chose to apply to a vocational training program. This is where I found my strengths and my identity not only in the curriculum, but also in the socialization I needed to better adapt to society outside of the limited scope of public high school I had found myself in.
Through the vocational school I found the challenges I needed, better habits, and a more accepting atmosphere that led to a better attitude towards my education and future. My vocational school did very well in preparing their students for the future. The vocational school I was at had three programs, students worked through all of them or just the ones that were needed depending on what your particular need was upon acceptance into the program. There was High School Diploma, Technical Education, and Career Services.
These programs included Finance and Business, Hospitality, Construction(s), and Health Care to name a few (JC 2013). Some of these may seem limited but with help of the Career Services department they could lead to further opportunity. The administrative staff worked diligently at offering support in essential areas such as testing, further educational pursuits, career counseling, and career readiness. Without any of these I would not have received the credentials, socialization habits, i. e. , dress codes, conduct, problem solving, work place interactions, that are essential in life and society among adults.
The schools program design employs a comprehensive career development training path which merges the teaching of academics, vocational, employability skills, and social competencies executed through classroom, practical and based learning (JC 2013). All these are to lead to career paths, future, and stable employment. It is in this vocational program that the economic function of education is also seen. Established in 1964 under the Economic Opportunity Act to serve and help young people improve the quality of life through academic and vocational training.
This program was built and modeled after the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corps program which was under the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty during the depression (Blackett, 2002, p. 1-6). Which was dismantled after World War II when the G. I. Bill was more effective for the returning soldiers to allay the employment market from being flooded. Through the Job Corps, I was able to finish my education with the credentials that would lead me to job attainment and the socialization necessary to live in and contribute to society in the United States.
The hidden curriculum and soft skills have been valuable to help me dress right, speak professionally, and present myself in a formal manner. That and the future preparation I received is still active for me, twenty years later as I seek a higher education and degree to further my credentials and human capital. References: Blackett, J. E. A. (2002). A legal history of the job corps. (Order No. 3042916, Andrews University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 266-266 p. Retrieved from http://ezproxy. snhu.
edu/login? url=http://search. proquest. com/docview/305445461? accountid=3783. (305445461). Job Corps (2013) http://recruiting. jobcorps. gov/en/about. aspx Manza, J. , Arum, R. , & Haney, L. (2012). The Sociology Project Introducing the Sociological Imagination (pp. 125-128). Pearson College Div. Wren, D. J. (1999). School culture: Exploring the hidden curriculum. Adolescence, 34(135), 593 6. Retrieved from http://ezproxy. snhu. edu/login? url=http://search. proquest. com/docview/195940230? accountid=3783.