Child 90.1 Group ProjectSchool as a Socializing AgentCaroline AckroydAshley FossumFernando MaldonadoEllie PooreMeghan RuckerDue: April 23, 2013
IntroductionHow do we know what is or is not acceptable behavior in society? Where do welearn how to interact with one another as children, and eventually, as adults?As children, many important attributes of socialization are attained from ourimmediate circle of family and friends. However, it is important to note that a largeportion of social development is also acquired in the school setting. Our parentstake us to school not only to learn to read, write and equate, but to expose us toplaces and faces outside of our home as well.This process of exposure and learned behavior is what we summarize associalization. The crucial role that schools place in socialization shapes much of oursociety today. Here, we have shared how school inﬂuences children, schoolʼspurpose in the socialization process, methods of socialization in schools and therole of teachers in socialization.
How School Influences ChildrenIt should not be surprising to anyone that children do beneﬁt tremendously fromattending school. School is a way for children to have good standards set by their teachersthrough demonstration of good models of behavior. School gives children a sense ofresponsibility, they learn valuable lessons, and are often praised for their good efforts. Formany children school becomes like a second home to them. Schools are where education isconsidered a centralized and systematic activity to give speciﬁc knowledge and abilities tochildren, such as geography, physics, foreign languages, and so on. Education in schooladapts to group studying and society. Children develop several attitudes, skills andknowledge when in school, such as becoming more conﬁdent in their own abilities, beingmore responsible for their own actions and behavior, developing socially-valued academicskills and knowledge, being more independent and self reliant, being more focused, anddeveloping the abilityto share, take turns,cooperate and followreasonable instructionsfrom teachers.
How School Influences Children, continued…Schools have many varying inﬂuences on children. Among the most signiﬁcant are:Behavior Development Educational Achievement Social ResponsibilitySeveral studies, especially the 1985 American Head Start program started by RuthMcKey, have proven that schools have immediate and positive effects on children, andnot only on their cognitive abilities but also on their self-esteem, achievement,motivation and social behavior. Teachers are a tremendous part of those effects onchildren, of course. Children who are in school generally learn to be more diligent andless disruptive and follow rules in a formal societal setting.Schools have a signiﬁcant contribution to cognition growth, as well as a great inﬂuence onthe development of reading, and overall a strong inﬂuence on children development ingeneral.School also inﬂuences children by giving them a sense of social responsibility that isinstrumental to attaining academic knowledge and skills. By behaving responsibly,children can help broaden their learning through positive exchanges with their teachersand/or peers, such as working together with other students on a project and sharingtheir information. Additionally, children are expected to follow the rules and becompliant, so by being socially responsible, children can enhance their academicperformance. In that aspect, teachers are crucial to helping children develop socialresponsibilities…by having the rules and guidelines explained to them, and by helpingthem with transitions at certain times during the daily agenda and/or curriculum.
School’s Purpose in the Socialization ProcessSchools impact a childʼs socialization by havinggames and activities that involve them workingas a team, even if a child dislikes someone inhis/her group. During circle time, children haveto sit still and listen quietly and respectfullywhile others are stating an opinion, answering aquestion or listening to a book being read tothem. They are learning to be respectful andconsiderate of other people and those peopleʼsopinions.Schools also teach children to realize that the actions they take can affect other people.This prepares them for choices they will make as adults. During their teenage years, forexample, children will likely encounter peer pressure situations that could potentiallyhave negative impacts on themselves or others. A child who learns how to makeproactive decisions in his/her school years will be better equipped to handle socialdilemmas as they get older.In elementary school, you also learn how to interact with people and to understand rules,and the consequences of those rules if you break them. Adults must know that if youbreak the rules, you can end up with a citation, in jail, or worse, depending on thelaw/scenario. School interactions and disciplinary processes serve to manage the dailyencounters that we will experience in adulthood. For example, if someone cuts in front ofyou in line, an adult who was well-socialized as a child should know to deal with it usingwords instead of trying to ﬁght that person.
In elementary classrooms, children are often around people of different ethnicities orcultures for the ﬁrst time in their lives. Learning to understand and appreciate diversity iscrucial for socialization in our society today. Teaching children to make friends and toappreciate them for their differences, no matter what their backgrounds may be, isanother important role that schools play in socialization.Schools can teach children about the circle of life. Having a class pet helps childrenlearn responsibility in caring for something/someone other than themselves. Teacherscan create lesson plans that will help children understand how all creatures live and diein this cycle. A class pet can reinforce the lessons with hands-on, tangible experiencesthat children may not be getting at home. Placing a value on life, and creating concernfor the well-being of other creatures are ethical values that schools can serve to teachchildren.Schools also teach children about societal norms. Children become familiar with usinggender-designated restrooms, public and personal hygiene, respecting authority andunderstanding societal roles. Insisting on ʻpleasesʼ and ʻthank yousʼ are a small wayschool staff teach children to attain the things they want by performing the necessaryfunctions to attain them.The core purpose of schools in a childʼs socialization is ʻopportunityʼ to better oursociety. Ideally, what a family may lack, fail-in or overlook, a school can make-up for.Schools are not strictly academic or social. They should be viewed as a combination ofboth. It is impossible to educate in our school systems without addressing the aspect ofsocialization - and both are often equally signiﬁcant.School’s Purpose in the Socialization Process, continued…
Methods of SocializationThe act of secondary socialization is developed and created in schools. By going to school,a child learns what is considered appropriate behavior in public and group settings, outsideof their families. Schools require and expect their students to follow different rules andexhibit different behaviors than may be expected at home. Whether or not a child is readyemotionally or developmentally will have a huge effect on their social development whenthey enter a school environment. A childʼs development can also be compromised when ateacher or other school personnel push a narrow aspect of development and do not regardthe mired of other perspectives brought by the parents or other teachers. When working inthe school system it is important to keep an open mind.
Methods of Socialization, continued…Two major skills necessary to begin developing your childʼs socialization success in aschool are to address their language development and self-regulation. Children who areready for their ﬁrst step into a school setting, such as Kindergarten or another equivalent,can communicate effectively and are able to concentrate and focus on a single task for acertain period of time. To succeed in school, a child must be able to communicate theirbasic needs and desires. A child who is unable to communicate effectively will have a muchharder time succeeding and developing necessary social skills. Expected school behaviorwill often be very different than expected or modeled behavior at home. It is not easy to alterinstilled child-rearing that is practiced at home, or to change a parentʼs ideals on raisingtheir children, nor should this be our goal as teachers.One of three socialization skills developed by schools is called Ofﬁcial Curriculum. This iswhat the school system and itʼs teachers declare to be their content and goal for each gradelevel. It is at this point where teachers have the opportunity to pass down their knowledgeand skills to the next generation of children. It canalso serve as an ofﬁcial environment to pass-oncultural values, traditions and heritage, whenappropriate. As teachers, we must be careful toprovide enough information about other culturesand traditions without offering any stereotypes orbias. This form of curriculum often reinforces whatis learned in the family household, but cansometimes challenge family values and norms.
The second form, Social Curriculum, entails learning what appropriate behavior is,particularly in peer groups, and not necessarily friendship groups. This involves havingchildren working in teams, small and large groups or organized sports. Sometimes, thesegroups will include people the child doesnʼt get along with or agree with. This reinforces anddeepens gender role socialization started by the family group and continued in the peergroup.A third form of curriculum developed in schools is called Hidden Curriculum. This includeslearning the rules of behavior needed to function in formally-organized groups. For example,turning in assignments on time, along with acknowledging that all teachers do not have thesame rules or expectations. Hidden curriculum also includes teaching children aboutnational pride and democracy. For example, many schools in the U.S. require their childrento learn the Pledge of Allegiance or to recite the Bill of Rights. This develops self-relianceand obedience and helps to prepare a child for the formal organization necessary in theadult world.Overall, the school setting is a very important building block to a childʼs overall socialdevelopment. Children learn about socially acceptable behavior, how to work with peoplethey do not agree with and are exposed to different cultures and traditions. They are beingintroduced to skills necessary to succeed in the real world. These methods are crucial toproper socialization in children.Methods of Socialization, continued…
The Role of Teachers in SocializationTeachers will be one of the greatestinﬂuences in the process and learningof socialization in early childhoodeducation. Since teachers areeducating and interacting with thechildren in their classes for a largeportion of each day, they will have thechance to make an important impacton the socialization and developmentof their students. There are manychallenges and factors that will comeinto play and a teacher must be readywith tools to create a positive learning atmosphere for the children to develop the bestsocial skills possible.The teacher can have a great affect on the way the child will perceive and understandhis/her social surroundings, and this is through modeling. They way the teacher directsher class, carries-out her curriculum and engages with the children, staff and familymembers will all be learning moments for her students. It comes down to the teachercreating a learning atmosphere where the child as a whole will be cared-for andeducated. In turn, this will enhance the childʼs development into a unique and conﬁdentindividual who will be able to go into the world with a sense of who they are and whatthey can do for the group as a whole.
The Role of Teachers in Socialization, continued…When directing her class the teacher has the responsibility to be nurturing, accepting andrespectful to each child in her care. For children, having an adult close by who willprovide knowledge, input, guidance and support is essential to the process of socialdevelopment. Curriculum is where the teacher will be able to focus in on providing reallearning moments that will capture the essence of socialization. The curriculum will givechildren hands-on interactions and experiencesto form and develop their skills. Having a well-organized routine, yet one with ﬂexibility in theschedule will create a more relaxed and com-fortable atmosphere, which will overﬂow into asocial environment where children are comfort-able learning. Providing plenty of free-playwhere the children are able to interact with theirpeers will create moments to practice decision-making, problem-solving and conﬂict resolutionis essential. All of these are learning momentsbeing used to form and obtain socialization.Within the curriculum the teacher will also beable to intertwine activities and lessons that willpertain to treating others fairly and with kindness.Using music and story time to enhance this know-ledge would be an excellent way to keep encour-aging this desired behavior.
The Role of Teachers in Socialization, continued…Though there will be numerous ways the teacher will be able to use her curriculum toinﬂuence socialization, one of the greatest will be ﬁnding ways to give some focusedattention to each child individually, in small groups and then large groups. Juggling this isnot easy, but once a teacher is able to evaluate her classroomʼs environment, thechildren and the childrenʼs family in her care, the sooner she will be able to work anddevelop a system that will be beneﬁcial for all.Positive relationships and the commitment to looking at the child as a whole within afamily-centered program, will have a positive effect on the social development of thechild. Teaching and caring for childrenʼs social skills is not done alone by anyone, but asa uniﬁed effort my many people, especially a childʼs family and teacher(s). Engaging withthe families and creating a place where they feel accepted and treated fairly has much todo with creating a positive social atmosphere for the child. Doing so will enable you toﬁnd out more about the child, and then model your own behavior to match the childʼsneeds. A teacher with a heart of compassion will be able to create an atmosphere forchildren to ﬂourish socially and learn the skills needed to be a successful member of theirworld.
ConclusionIn summary, school is undeniably one of the most important methods of preparingour children to live and hopefully succeed in our society. School is a majorinﬂuence on the way children see themselves and each other through its purposein the socialization process. Schools utilize several methods to ʻteachʼ theseconcepts to children, and teacherʼs play the most crucial role in overseeing howthey are implemented. Ideally, school should foster and grow a childʼs knowledge,self-esteem and understanding of the way the world works.The family and school should always aim to work alongside one another, never tocompete. Socialization is one of the key steps in this cooperation of family andschool. Where one may lack (ideally) the other can make-up. Regardless,socialization is the vitality of any schoolʼs ultimate mission. Shaping youngergenerations to care for one another and the world we live in is ultimately, everyschoolʼs duty.