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Sociology. Is it Relevant?

As part of my prescribed ‘rehabilitation’ back into the teaching profession, I have recently started a program from Athabasca University. Most of Athabasca’s courses are delivered online and it is geared for people who need a flexible schedule and are typically juggling several things at once. I have signed up for Education 302; Educational Issues and Social Change. Basically, a sociology course. My father, when he was alive, was never a fan of the ‘ologies. In his mind, they were useless, a waste of time and energy. I’d never considered it  and certainly didn’t have enough energy or experience at the time to dispute his argument. But having started this course I do believe he was wrong.

Sociology is  the study of human social behaviour. It is more or less a science based discipline that endeavours to answer questions about social behaviour. A topic which and has, as you can imagine, a massive scope.  As an educator sociology asks some of the most fundamental questions we need to consider.

There is the big picture questions like, “How does education impact society and visa versa?” Then at the other end of the scale, micro questions such as, “what are the most effective ways to communicate with my students?”  As a class teacher big picture questions, while vitally important for policy makers, have little impact directly. But the questions that address behaviour and relationships, the micro questions, is key information that will help us become more effective at what we do. 

It turns out without people studying these types of questions we’d have little knowledge beyond anecdotes of what works and what doesn’t. We want to find out what best practice is, what that means and how to implement it. Sociologists help us do that. I’m looking forward to learning more about these subjects. 

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