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The topic on this week's Behind the classroom door from northern Illinois University's College of Education is the school and social development. Here is the modern writer Dane Robert after top of the school in its responsibilities for the social development of children has been pretty controversial partly because people haven't understood what was meant by social development and they thought only about dance seeing in their extracurricular activities. But actually when you view it in its broadest sense one might say that to one of the major responsibilities legitimately of the school was to encourage and educate the child with regard to social development. How do you feel about that Dr. Leonard. Well in one sense education is synonymous with socialization because both are concerned with the process of teaching the individual how to behave in different
situations on a course. Every individual must live with other individuals throughout his life. Right. And of course learning and learning to eat to walk the talk to wear clothes in the right way all of these things are part of the job of the school and of the family and even the subjects that are taught in the school and the teaching of reading or the teaching of repetition. All of these things are related to the process of learning how to live. I think if you use socialization on a very broad sound so as you just did Lloyd might agree that socialization. May be synonymous with education but I think be very misleading to indicate that social development should be the primary concern in the schools. The schools exist primarily for the academic or intellectual development of the child and in order for the child to develop intellectually sense
and intellect any intellectual development would also necessitate a change of behavior. Then I think social development is also on Orton but I think some schools have interpreted their role to be much more in terms of social development than intellectual development and the so-called finishing school for example. Tends to place almost its entire output upon social development Well this is just the veneer However this is the frosting on the cake These are those little refinements of interaction in society. I think what Lloyd is saying and I tend to agree with them is that social interaction is vital for every individual no matter how well qualified how knowledgeable he is how wise he is how many skills he has. Unless he can get along with people and understand people there are many roles he can
assume professionally in life except that some of the key people who have made him honest outstanding contributions to our society tended not to be social B-ball as youngsters but wouldn't they make a better contribution if they had been able during those early years but particularly later re to communicate with others. You know the genius who isolates himself in an attic might make a much greater contribution if he got out of the attic and was able to interact with people. I don't think so because I think people have online certain amounts of time. I doubt very much that Einstein would have been able to contribute as much as you write if he had found out. Dance scene and make scene and trying to be successful. I think of a statement I heard a man at the University of. California make about Oppenheimer when Oppenheimer
was a child. The greatest thing he had objected to was during their redo their recess periods. The teachers were constantly trying to get him in to play games with other children and that was not his interest he would have much preferred to spend that period of time in reading. Now maybe it is true that as an individual he would have been a much better or much more well-rounded individual. I hate that term. If he had done all of these sayings. But the idea is that to achieve genius or to make a great great contribution in a field I think necessitates specialization and in many cases our greatest contributions have come from people who have tended to be somewhat. I don't know antisocial but certainly not social beings in working with children I think that is something that the teachers should constantly
be aware of the fact that some children just prefer to be by themselves to carry on their own little research projects. Not because they're afraid to be in the group but that is just their own natural tendency. We know that teachers are constantly having stress to them the need to bring the shy child into the group to get this child to participate with others. But it is necessary to differentiate between shy child and the one who prefers to be this research type of individual. But on the other hand you don't want that to go too far do not dare Loughlin my child Leisel HS himself significantly from the group is likely to be in the throes of the development of an emotional disorder I believe. Now I have to agree with Dean
Fein actually that there is a wide range of differences between extroverted individuals and introverted individuals nobody is or should be completely extroverted and want people around him all the time. But on the other hand there there needs to be a little of both in everybody. I think idea only that if we were going to fulfill our role as teachers we would be concerned about the intellectual development social development emotional development of all the individuals in our classes. But I do think that we recognize individual differences and intellectual development and we have to therefore recommend to recognize individual difference differences in social emotional development. I like to think that schools were established to fulfill basic
needs that exist in our societies and in our homes and when that need arises the school sets out to fulfill that need for example and most say a child cannot be taught to read because of parents either do not have the time or or the skills so the school takes on that responsibility of teaching children to read. And I think the same thing can be said. Social Development child so many children or at least some children come from homes where the they receive the affection they feel wanted and they have developed all of these social skills in the home. Then I think that the school does not have the responsibility of developing these social skills in this child and the child can devote this time to other activities if he prefers to. I like to go back to Ray's previous dream about the United
intellectual development versus the social development. I think there are some things here that we need to look at. One is of course that that has always been. We have always had been those conflicting philosophies of education. And probably that's good. But I think there are other things involved here too and that is that Ray is talking about some people who are educated many years ago. We're living in now our world is quite different today. And I think for example in my own case I I was educated to quite a few years ago at the elementary school level. And I think the situation today is quite different. I was born and reared in a rural community where living there was quite different than it is for them typical child of today who is living in a metropolitan area in other words as we become urbanized. There are new problems here today new needs for socialization. At this in the schools today that we didn't have 30 years ago and 40 years ago I wonder
if you could give me a specific example Lloyd of some socializing tasks that you think should have been included in your own elementary education back in that little rural community in Iowa. That was not provided to you. And that has hindered you in living in much detail. Well of course I grew up at a time when most of the other in my quinces were in the same situation that I was living in. However I was a member of a fairly large family and I knew all the neighbors. I knew the teacher. I felt secure because of all these witnesses that I had. Well today a young child moves into a community like to Cal.. They move in. They go to school everyone strange to them. They may have come from a small smaller community and
it's very difficult to adjust I know a part of me than I would to actually sane as the development of a child socially is more important today. Oh yeah and I'm a parent very definitely is more important today and it needs to start when the child enters school as far as the school is concerned. And of course it shouldn't start in the child's life before that. You know home isn't that one reason that we're putting so much emphasis knowledge upon kindergartens and preschool education that we feel that many homes especially homes in with and which both parents are not present or in the lower socio economic classes. But it's extremely important to get the child out of the home as early as possible and providing him with these social experiences that he would not have been at home. Yes said the child everyone needs to be to feel secure. Everyone needs to feel success for example
and that's why we need to start nice things said at the at an early age in the school and their developmental as we go through school because I think we are making a mistake even now in narrowing our concept of social interaction and social experience. I don't think we should think of it in terms of only being able to converse smoothly and to feel at ease with the other individuals. I think that social interaction and social experience and social skill is much broader than this. And I have a feeling that it can't be accomplished in the home. The base the basic type of social knowledge and skill that I like to be you is being accomplished by a good school. A child leaves the home and I don't care how many children there are in
the home and he goes into a classroom with 25 or 30 other children of his own age and here he learns to share or he learns his own role in life he interaction with his own age group. He learns from them and he learns together with them. I think the whole way of alive in a typical classroom where children are interacting with children is vital to his or even to his intellectual efficiency in development as a stimulation an inner change in children teach each other and throughout his life almost every waking moment. He's going to be interacting with people working with people learning from them or teaching them in some way around their house is a material that every component of our society contributes to the development of the child emotionally and socially intellectually going along with what Lloyd said I think.
Social Development has to occur as a developmental process so that starting in kindergarten it mean the social development maybe even the primary concern of the teacher at that level. The child learns certain aspects of social development within the school context but certainly he also learns if he works he learns from his working experience other aspects of social development. The disco cannot provide and I think he learns from his friends from out of school situations from the way spends his leisure time and from his home. I wonder though if by the time we get to the upper intermediate level in other words the sixth grade or into junior high school if some schools are not putting too much emphasis upon rather overt
signs of social development. For example many junior high schools sponsor formal dances for youngsters. I'm in junior high school and some formal dances some informal dances and I realize that parents of course through PTA is often support such activities because parents want their children to be popular. But I wonder if perhaps the school is not doing more harm by taking a developmental task such as attending a dance which in my own very conservative thinking is a developmental task that normally would not occur until later in life at least at the high school level and forcing that developmental task down to a level in which most students are not ready to
face that particular task I'd say most boys especially now they meet goal because of peer approval. But I doubt if the boy in the junior high school age. I had freedom of choice but he would select attending a formal dance. Dean Fox I think you're talking like a typical parent now. You're trying to blame the schools for sponsoring these dances when in effect dance is the product of the particular communities attitude toward these things. I think the parents are as responsible as the teachers for whatever goes on extracurricular way with regard to boy girl things such as Dances formal dances and informal dances. Now you may say well the parents they don't are rigid they're objecting to it. Well they're objecting to it to each other and to their children when they have to buy a 30
dollar formal for a junior high school girl or when the boy has to buy a corsage for the girl. This cost $5 and they say we're hurrying it up. I just wish they wouldn't have those dances. But when you come right down to it and school people know this if the school were to suddenly say we're not going to have any more dances we're going to cut out the formal dance that graduation or whatever it may be. The children would influence their parents or perhaps the children wouldn't even have to influence their parents to the point where there'd be a real reaction to parents opposing the removal of the dances. I imagine in it depends on the community. The trouble is I think that the school very often judges the reaction to such extracurricular activities as dances by a vociferous minority present in the PTA.
And my own experience has been that that minority does not represent the community in any community even the fairly wealthy community. Dekalb for example. Certainly there are many many parents who cannot afford to buy daughter a new 15 20 dollar formal to attend a junior high school dance. That's especially true if they have many children by the time the child finishes and he has perches class raying class anos formals. I wonder if there isn't. If we're not expecting too much from the child in the way of activities that perhaps contribute very little to him in terms of social development Well we don't want to talk too long about dancing and amplify the importance of this but on the other hand it does represent what I think is
a reaction to a community's desires Now it's true. The kids are going home and saying to their parents well all the others are doing it. All the others are doing it and they're saying the same thing to their teachers and the teachers and the parents made him a both as groups be disinclined to move children into this to the degree of sophistication as early as they seem to be moving. But maybe again it's only the difference between generations. I have been employed in the riot of community A's. All of which I had junior high schools and to the best of my memory I can't recall any of these junior high schools that not have dancers dances for their boys and girls. And I can visualize these junior high school teachers on the evening of the dance with the boys seated on one side of the gymnasium and the girls seated on the other side of the gym
and the teachers in the middle trying to get both sexes to come out and dance. I think it's fortunate that the school is not alone in our social development that there are other institutions in the community who also contribute to this type of development. There is a church there the Girl Scouts there's boys scarves for each clubs. There is the YMCA. All of which assume a certain type of responsibility towards this development. And I like to refer back to what the Dean Fox said before that perhaps the role of the school is that of intellectual development and perhaps more of these responsibilities for social development could be taken on by other agencies in the community.
I don't I don't think that we'd argue that the school's primary function was not intellectual development. But I also think we must remember that the school is in a position where they must provide say the resources to help achieve a satisfying acceptable behavior on the part of the child must enable the child to do these things because at the elementary school level you have many opportunities for socializing in the regular classroom as part of the regular curriculum. And when they when they get to junior high or to the senior high where they're more segmented more departmental ised. Many of the opportunities that they've had for socialization at the elementary grade level are gone and so they have to provide for you know a different way. And they also course have to recognize that the children are older now and they have these other rough ways of doing nice things. So there's much to be said for the school as the Center for
Social activity in the particular neighborhood or community where it's located and of course Lloyd you referred back to that one room rural school earlier this school was the social center for young people and old people alike. And I think there's there's just this is gone full cycle now I think that we're going to start to see schools become community centers not only for the children but for the adults. And this is good. Here we have children engaging in recreational activities including dancing and in some occasions under the supervision of teachers and of course this is one of the problems the cost of keeping schools open many hours throughout the day so that instead of wandering the streets and getting into trouble the children can be there and gauging in some social or recreational activities is quite high.
And I somewhat agree with Leo I wonder if. We assume that the primary responsibility of the school is intellectual and academic development of the child. And we don't have enough resources and enough teacher time to handle that adequately. If it's fair to say that social development is also important dancing for example is important in our society. Therefore the school should provide it. My own feeling is that there are other agencies that can provide such social experiences and perhaps do it better. I think a school is an artificial situation and to judge the child's behavior in terms of the way he behaves in a dance floor. As Leo said with the boys in one side and girls in the other side and teachers in the middle. Maybe because the teachers are present and the teachers are perceived by the students
as a card carrying figures. Students might be much better off at the YMCA or some church dance affair and the other thing that concerns me about it is that if. We provide such early experiences for a child these experiences also lead normally to very early dating. You can go to a junior high school in which there is a dance and junior high school youngsters are coming in and they're dating now maybe again I'm old fashioned but I tend to think that dating other than in group dates should come bleeder in a child's development. Yet students going study or I guess as they say going steadily is a fairly common occurrence now in junior high school. You go with one person for quite a while and then change to another person for quite a while well
I think Dean Fox that you were kind of expressing one of the basic problems here and that is the difference between the generations. Because after all who is to say that children shouldn't start dating informally earlier than we dated. Who is to say that times don't change and that this kind of social and social interaction is not good. Perhaps it's good perhaps it's important for young people to start dating early. A number of different individuals so they can make that final choice. With better insight in with the greater validity than seems to be the case of it for our generation had died except the idea that it may be perfectly alright for them to do it. But what bothers me is that in some cases teachers are making judgments about individuals socially on the basis of the way they behave in
the school. This can be done. Running a typical social gram in the elementary school in which students take two to three students that they'd prefer to be with or to work with and some student isn't selected and the teacher assumes an there's something wrong with that child the child is a social ice would. And it may not be true at all. He may be a social social Islip in terms of that particular group. Yet his friends may come from a different part of the community he may live in a different part of the Commune well but don't you think that's all the teachers trying to find out the teachers are going to condemn him or send him to a psychiatrist. The teacher is trying to find out which child doesn't have friends and a child who doesn't have friends ordinarily is not a very happy child and I don't think a very effective child in learning. Also the teacher isn't going to jump to any conclusions I hope. I hope the teacher has more insight than that discovering for example that the child has all his friends elsewhere.
Teacher maybe should be able to rearrange the seating in such a way or to give the youngster something to do that will give him some recognition and break him into the little social clique so it may exist. I think they would like to say that when I think of the US think of socialization in the schools I'm also thinking of the school's responsibility for the personality personality development of the child. And I know today that youngsters will be living in conflicting situations. In their society and they have to adjust to them they have to make a good adjustment. And I think that the school that's not negation there to help the child learn to adjust to conflicting situations. One thing also that I would like to clear up and that is that we seem to be drawing somewhat of a dichotomy between social development and intellectual development and I think it should be pointed out that numerous studies determines 30 years study to give to children for example
find that these aspects of development actually are highly correlated. In other words the student who is in has a high intellectual ability also tends to be well developed socially and emotionally. There are exceptions to that and of course the exceptions make the newspaper. But in general we can expect the various aspects of development to be quite highly correlated. And that's a good note to close on social development intellectual development go hand in hand. Behind the classroom door produced by WFIU in cooperation with the College of Education at Northern Illinois University each week focuses its attention on one of the many challenging aspects of public school education. The program is moderated by Dr. Robert F. top dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Today's guest were Dr. Robin B Fox associate dean of the College of Education.
Behind the Classroom Door
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Behind the Classroom Door is a radio series from WNIU-FM about education in the United States. In each episode, faculty from the Northern Illinois University College of Education address specific issues related to public school education and operation. The program is produced in cooperation with Northern Illinois University and distributed by the National Educational Radio Network.
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