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The School as a Social Environment for Learning: Social Organization and Micro-Social Process in Education

Sarane S. Boocock
Sociology of Education
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 1973), pp. 15-50
DOI: 10.2307/2112204
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112204
Page Count: 36
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The School as a Social Environment for Learning: Social Organization and Micro-Social Process in Education
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Abstract

This paper is an attempted synthesis of the literature on the social organization of schools and the interaction comprising the social process of education. The first part contains over-all pictures of the school as a social environment, taken from the work of Durkheim, Weber, Waller, and Jackson. These "visions" present the school as a product of its larger social surroundings, and they describe the relationship between the student and teacher roles and the patterns of activities and interaction typical of school life. The second part presents findings from research on the structural and dynamic components of the school: the role structure, the social context and value climate, and the types of exchanges of information, influence, and rewards characteristic of classroom interaction. Part III describes four educational innovations which represent reform based upon the kinds of sociological principles and findings discussed in Parts I and II: the open classroom, a reform school educational program based upon behavior modification techniques, schools-without-walls, and the school in a kibbutz community. The paper concludes with a suggested research agenda oriented toward the development of a real theory of the school as a social environment for learning.

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