Teaching the sociology of education: constructing a school system in a semester
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The teaching of the sociology of education has been categorised as "service sociology", a complex area mainly inhabited by "invisible sociologists", with a history which "remains to be written". The aim in this paper is to cast a brief light on the sociology of education in Australian universities, and from this to provide an example of the use of sociological concepts to construct a school system in a semester. It is argued that teaching through concepts provides a practical theory for an understanding of the system of schools which is more appropriate than teachers in training than traditional approaches where learning and applying sociological theory is the aim. A method is proposed for teaching sociology through concepts that relate institutional categorisation and order to structural and demographic factors outside of schools that influence types of curriculum and differences in educational outcomes. Described are ways students work with empirical materials to construct the system and build visual representations of schools in the state, private and independent sectors. It is concluded that the course has theoretical portability and provides a practical understanding of a system and a method to carry into teacher's professional lives.
Social Causes, Private Lives
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Sociology of Education