THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL AS A SOCIALIZING AGENT. One social agency created to enhance the processes of socialization and education is the school.
Socialization is the process of creating a social self, learning one’s culture and learning the rules and expectations of the culture. The school is an artificial institution set up for the purpose of socialization and cultural transmission. The school can be regarded as a formally constituted community as opposed to mutual communities.
Among the most important agencies of socialization is the school; i.e. other than the home the school is the other important institution in which socialization takes place. Schooling has been defined by Biddle as “the appearance of organized instructional activity in which the position of the teaches is differentiated from other positions in the system and given the explicit task of socializing neophytes”,
In terms of socialization, the school has, in recent years, come to take over some of the formes functions of the family and community i.e. the school has become a primary agency of socialization. The school is the first large-scale organization of which the child becomes a member. The school is a minpature reflecting what goes on in the wider society.
One way of appreciating the school’s potential for socialization lies in the simple reckoning of the amount of time s the youngsters spend in school and in activities related to the school. The youngsters spend the major part of their active hours of the day in school, from morning to evening incase of a day school and boarding schools they stay for duration of about nine months in a year. Obviously, during this time student acquires a lot from the teachers and fellow students. Due to this fact the school becomes an important agent of socialization.
The school is said to be next to the family in terms of importance as far as socialization is concerned. The school combines the formal (e.g. classroom teaching, fines caning, suspension expulsions official mention, prices) and informal (e.g. peer group influences/ pressure) approaches in its socializing function.
How the school performs the function of socialization.
through the curriculum, the school in a formal way provides the child with:
Knowledge of basic intellectual skills such as reading, writing, verbal expression, quantitative and other cognitive abilities, Education teaches languages and allows people communicate with each other according to positions in society.
Cultural achievements of ones society.
Opportunities to acquire social and vocational abilities which are necessary in order to make one a social, useful and economically productive member of the society.
Gender roles as perceived as suitable roles by the society.
Educational systems socialize students to become members of society, to play meaningful roles in the complex network of independent positions.
Education helps in shaping values and attitudes to the needs of the contemporary society.
Education widens the mental horizons of pupils and teaches them new ways of looking at themselves and their society.
Education offers young people opportunities for intellectual, emotional and social growth. Thus education can be influential in promoting new values and stimulating adaptation of changing conditions.
Informally and especially through social clubs, the school enables the child to learn a number of other social roles and skills which are also important for his/ her overall development as a member of society. For example.
Education teaches the laws, traditions and norms of the community, the rights that individuals will enjoy and the responsibilities that they will undertake.
Education teaches how one is to behave toward his/ her play- mates and adults.
Schooling instills the community’s pattern of respect; thus how to relate to others well and obey rules.
Schooling enables one to intendize the culture of one’s society.
Education leads toward tolerant and humanitarian attitudes. For example, college graduates are expected to be more tolerant than (high school graduates in their attitudes toward ethenic and social groups.
Thus education will train useful citizens who will obediently confirm to society’s norms, and will accept the role and status that society will confer upon them when they have finished their schooling.
Since children come from different backgrounds, the work of the school therefore is to intercept and change or modify those aspects which may not be acceptable to the community. At the same time, those aspects of training which are meaningful are encouraged. Most of the informal learning occurs mainly within the pees group setting. The pees groups affect the socialization process both in school and in the neighborhood.
The school represents a formal and conscious effort by the society to socialize its young. It does this through the content of the curriculum and co-curricular activities. They also socialize the values that they communicate to the child. Teachers also act as models for students.
In school the child learns skills which to a large extent prepare him for the world of work.