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Sociology of Education for a School Teacher


Sociology of education has provided important perceptions into the ways in which schools affect individuals and groups. For learning to take place activators of learning should be aware of the society around them. It is of paramount importance for teachers to study sociology of education. This observation is borne out of the fact that it is not possible to separate or draw any line of demarcation between the society and education.

It is sociology of education that imparts teachers with the knowledge that educational processes affect the way people think, live, and work, their place in society and their chances for success or failure. This writer is going to motivate the study of sociology of education to a school teacher. The write up will define the terms sociology, education and sociology of education.

Sociology is defined by Mohanty (2005) as the study of properties of groups their structures, processes and adaptation to changing circumstances.

According to sociology is the scientific study of human groups. Therefore, sociology is the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behaviour of organized groups of human beings.

Kumar and Ahmad (2018), view education as a purposive, conscious or unconscious, psychological, sociological, scientific and philosophical process, which fully brings about the development of the individual and the maximum development of society in such a way that both enjoy maximum happiness and prosperity. Supporting the same idea, Giddens and Sutton (2013) view education as a social institution which enables and promotes the acquisition of skills, knowledge and broadening of personal horizons.

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Therefore, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, that can be formal or informal which generally prepares oneself or others holistically to suit in the society.

Sociology of education according to Rao (2012) analyses the functional relationship between education and other great institutional order of society such as economy, the policy, religion and kinship. Ezewu (1998) defines sociology of education as “a scientific study of human behaviour in groups having for its aim the convening of regularities and order in each behaviour and expressing these sceneries as theoretical propositions that describe a wide variety of patterns of behaviour in learning environment”. Therefore, sociology of education can be defined as the study of how social institutions and individual experiences affects education and its outcome.

According to Sadovnik (2006), “the social purpose of schooling is to socialise children into various roles, behaviours and values of the society. This process referred to by sociologists as socialisation, is the key ingredients in the stability of any society.” Through socialisation the teacher is aware of what pupils want to learn and the rate at which pupils are capable to grasp concepts. It is sociology that will equip the teacher which knowledge on structing teaching method as well as daily lessons to accommodate different learners at their rate of grasping concepts. Therefore, studying sociology helps the teacher to understand content to be learned and how to impart it to the learner.

Furthermore, a teacher should understand the norms and values in the society around. Kendall (2011) says the common denominator that makes the actions of individuals intelligible to the group is culture. Hence it is the study of sociology that enable the teacher to fit in the society. if a teacher is well versed with the culture in the community he or she can teach children without discrimination or labelling. For instance, a school in a mining community in Zimbabwe has children who have family that attend to Gule Wankule dancing, if the teacher is aware of different culture around the society she will respect every culture and avoid discriminating them when teaching Religious and moral education.

Sociology of education will be able to help the teacher understand behaviours of children in the class. Stephen (2001:2) says, “it will help him have an understanding on how people behave.” Children in groups or individually behaves in different ways. Sociology will help the teacher to understand why certain individuals behave in the manna they behave and in this way the teacher the teacher will become more tolerant and compassionate. For instance, pupils raised but single mothers can behave differently compared to those raised by both parents. Those raised by single mothers might distance themselves from the ones with both parent because those with parents have stories to talk about their father or mother. Another example as supported by Ritzer (2015:405) is that behave, and aggressiveness can disrupt a class. If the teacher understands the behaviour of children, it then becomes easy have class control and instil discipline. It is sociology of education that enable the teacher to advise learner on what behave they should instead of forcing learners to belong to a group.

As evidenced in Ferrante (2011) sociology offers the framework to help the teacher understand how social forces come to be and how they affect sense of self and relationships. In agreement Sadovnik, Cookson and Semel (2006:6) believes that “the sociological approach to education is crucial because it provides conclusions based on focused and tested observations. Without such an analysis, one cannot know what is, and without knowing what is, one cannot make what ought to be reality.”

Societies have different society routines which may affect pupil at school. For example, a child who wakes up must go to the fields before school, do household chores and walk a kilometre to school this child is bound to sleep in class or come very late to school. Therefore, sociology of education helps the teacher to understand social forces and how they affect the pupil in schooling

In addition, one cannot live in isolation and need to work in a friendly environment that they feel comfortable with. William (2008:3) asserts that sociology of education helps teachers, “to relate well with his or her fellow teachers and participate in social life and step back and analyse the broader meaning of what is going on.” It is sociology of education that helps the school teacher to make good teacher-teacher relationship. Teachers who have studied sociology behave in a unique and extra ordinary way. In the same connection sociology equips teachers with respect of each other and relevant authorities. For example, each institution has an organogram that must be followed. If a school teacher is aware he or she avoids bridging the protocol and knowing how to address individuals. It can be concluded that, sociology sharpens and make the teacher suit in the society.

Furthermore, another importance of studying sociology to the teacher is that it enables the teacher to understand the children’s backgrounds. In evidence, Sadovnik (2011) says sociological research has consistently found that family background strongly affects educational achievement with student from high socio-economic backgrounds achieving at higher levels than students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for the teacher to study sociology of education so that he or she understands different backgrounds children are coming from. For example, some children who are under privileged may come to school without shoes, books, school fees or complete shoe uniforms. If the teacher is aware of different social classes children are coming from he or she avoids labelling children as well as offer help to those pupils such as registering them in Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). In agreement to Sadovnik, Marx in Schaefer (2012) believes that ·sociology has long been interested in the importance of social classes in shaping person’s life. Therefore, without the study of sociology the teacher cannot help in the shaping of a person’s life.

Moreover, studying the differences among learners empowers the teacher in decision making. Holt (2003:7) says, “because it contributes to the knowledge and understanding of differences. in human interaction which could be used in decision making. It is sociology of education which enables the teacher to detect relevant teaching methods and media to carter for individual needs. With acute information on differences in pupils, the teacher can also group children accordingly depending on their strength, weakness and how they behave. For instance, in schools those who are good in science are put in Science classes those who have strength in sports. It is the study of sociology be the teacher that places children in their roles in society that is the self-fulfilling prophecy. Summing up, Giddens and Sutton (2013) say that, “another important early socializing agency is the school which educates children and prepares them for work and future life-course stages.

However, teachers who have studied sociology of education should be aware of their reactions to behaviour as it may lead to labelling and affecting decision making in pupils. Giddens and Sutton (2013:340) believe that, “however, schooling also works in quite subtle ways through what sociologists call the ‘hidden curriculum’. Children are expected to be quite in class, to be punctual at lessons and to observe rules of school discipline. they are also required to accept and respond to the authority of the teaching staff, and the reactions of teachers affect the expectations children have of themselves.

In conclusion, it is of supreme importance for the teacher to study sociology of education as it helps the teachers understand the society and how pupil’s behave in groups. Sadovnik et al (2006) assert that without an understanding of how the components of society fit together, it is impossible to understand how schools work and their effects within a society. Owing to this the relationship between school and society is at the heart of the sociology of education.


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Sociology of Education for a School Teacher. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved from

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