Thursday, 6 November 2014

EDUC 1F95: Sociology of Education – Seminar 8

Developing a framework for studying The Sociology of Education in Canada

This post is the beginning of many posts for my EDUC 1F95 – Foundations of Education course I am a Teaching Assistant for this FW 2014-2015 school year. My students will be exploring the sociology of education using Terry Wotherspoon’s book The Sociology of Education in Canada: Critical Perspectives, 4th Ed. for lecture and seminar readings.

These blogs titled EDUC 1F95: Sociology of Education – Seminar # will provide a place for my interpretations, thoughts, critiques, and comments on the assigned readings each week. These blogs will be in part for myself to conceptualize my thoughts for seminar discussion and also for students in my seminars to expand their thinking and inquiry about the content provided each week. These posts are NOT to supplement or replace existing seminar material and content.

Each post will include the guiding questions and material for the seminar each week, followed by a brief overview of the chapter material and followed by comments or thoughts. Please feel free to comment on any of these blog posts to add your own comments, thoughts, revelations from class, or to pose questions!

Here we go!

Seminar 8 – Friday November 7, 2014

Chapter 1 - The Sociology of Education in Canada
Chapter 7 - Making Sense

Guiding Questions:
1. What is sociology? What do sociologists study?
2. What are the characteristics of the different sociological perspectives?
         a) Structural functionalism 
         b) Interpretive analysis
         c) Critical sociologies  
3. How do they compare to one another? What are the key contrasts in sociology?
4. Is sociology in Education a science? Why or why not? What about educational research? Is it a science and why or why not?
5. Review the four critical approaches to the analysis of Education. 
        a) Critical pedagogy 
        b) Feminist pedagogy
        c) Anti-racism education
        d) Political economy

Goals & Discussion:
1. Students should understand how structural functionalism, interpretive analysis and critical sociologies are conceptual frameworks that view society differently.
2. How do educators use sociology to understand and improve education?
3. Reflect upon how students used the ideas or arguing and writing with style in assignment 1 (connection to Making Sense Chapter 7 )

Let's explore the following:

Sociological perspectives:

1. Structural functionalism: this form of analysis examines social institutions and other elements of society in relation to the social system as a whole. It is sometimes known as the order perspective because it is concerned with factors that ensure the maintenance of social stability.

2. Interpretive analysis: an approach to understanding social life that emphasizes the role played by meanings and inter-subjective relationships in social activity

3. Critical sociologies: engages in a critique of social structures and practices by probing beyond descriptions of the status quo

Critical approaches to the analysis of Education:

1. Critical pedagogy: an approach oriented to progressive educational change by linking educational practices and experiences with social critique and a vision of educational alternatives

2. Feminist pedagogy: an approach to educational analysis grounded in a critique of gender inequalities in education and the factors that give rise to them, and committed to practices to change those inequalities

3. Anti-racism education: an approach to educational theory and practice oriented to identifying and changing attitudes, policies, and practices that discriminate on the basis of race

4. Political economy: an approach that emphasizes the interrelationships among social, economic, and political factors in social life; critical political economy examines the causes and consequences of deep-rooted forms of social and economic inequality

Notable definitions and concepts from Chapter 1

1. Agency: Recognition that human beings act on the basis of various degrees of choice and free will

2. Positivism: A philosophical approach that emphasizes sensory experience as the basis for all knowledge, applied as a scientific framework that seeks to derive and test laws based on empirical evidence from systematic observation and measurement

3. Sociology: An academic discipline concerned with the nature and organization of societies and the relationships that exist among individuals and society

4. Social structure: Elements of social life that are relatively patterned, interconnected, and enduring, often understood with reference to the rules and boundaries associated with different forms of social action

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