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Education as a Social Institution

Social institutions are an important element in the structure of human societies. They provide a structure for behavior in a particular part of social life. The five major social institutions in large societies are family, education, religion, politics, and economics. While each institution does deal with a different aspect of life, they are interrelated and intersect often in the course of daily life. For example, for schools to be able to exist they rely on funding from the government. This is an intersection between politics and education. Social institutions affect individual lives through other aspects of society such as culture, socialization, social stratification, and deviance. This paper will focus on the social institution of education, and how it affects individual lives through socialization, deviance, and social stratification. Education plays a large part in the socialization of children into society. Most American children spend the required 180 days each year in school from the first grade through high school. Most of a child’s day through these years is devoted to activities involving school such as attending classes, doing homework, and participating in extracurricular activities. The school format is designed to teach children to be productive members of society. Schools bear most of the responsibility of preparing young people for the working environment. Children learn punctuality, time management, and to respect the authority of their teacher which prepares them to respect their boss. The curriculum also plays an important role. A class in civics teaches a child to be a good American, and a class in home economics teaches a child how to operate a household. Most socialization, however, occurs beyond the curriculum. Extra-curricular activities such as student government, being a part of a school newspaper, or being in a business club provide anticipatory socialization for adult jobs. Childre...

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