Social Theories for Flexischoolers. Edith W. King

We thank our dear friend Edith W. King for this post. We have a job of work to do to raise awareness of the full possibilities of flexischooling and the ways in which it can challenge the current taken for granted assumptions and pervasive Neo-Liberal consensus. We need to rehearse this deeper understanding and empower more  flexi-families, learners and practitioners to take things beyond the superficial. To that end this book will assist.

Social Theories for Flexischoolers

Flexischoolers, do you seek explanations for what goes on around you? Do you think about making sense of common occurrences? of terrorism? of international calamities? Many of us seek explanations for daily events as well as global happenings. And do you realize we live in an invisible social world? Any thoughtful individual using social theories can gain insights into these questions about our society. This is what Encounters With Social Thought (Amazon: Kindle, 2015) authored by sociologist Edith King, offers Flexischooling groups, parents, students, and resource people. The author uses concise accounts of everyday experiences, as well as international happenings and crises, to demonstrate the power of sociological theories. The e-book starts with short, succinct descriptions and explanations of major social theories that are then applied to the incidents (encounters) that follow.

The first section of the book provides readers with an example of the application of a sociological analysis. The celebration of the special day on October 31st in the US, Halloween, is described and then analyzed with four major social theories — functional theory, conflict theory, interaction- interpretation and critical theory. This material is presented in clear, direct, and succinct style. Other examples of encounters focus on everyday experiences such as eating at a restaurant and the decline of gender neutral language. There is also a unique questionnaire the “Portfolio of Global Experience,” that asks respondents to consider and list the aspects of their lives that have global or international features.
How can these examples of encounters from the book relate to the Flexischooling curriculum for students at various ages? Some suggestions include: focus on the contributions to language usage and language learning; the use of questionnaires and projects that involve daily activities in the home and the community, as well as international events and global outreach. And there is discovering the practice of sociology. It is to be remembered that Professor Roland Meighan was an educational sociologist. His notable text, A Sociology of Educating, had many editions.

We can start with the example of applying social theories to analyzing a celebration like Halloween in the US.

Select any holiday or festival. Use instructions to describe the occasion, next apply the four major sociological theories to the event. Encourage students to delve into taken-for-granted celebrations with these broader social perspectives. This is also relevant to researching and collecting examples of the loss of gender neutral language. For example the continual use of man-made and mankind when humankind or humans is fully acceptable. The sociological focus makes students aware of the impact of language in spoken and written usage.

Source: Headline in the Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2014
Additionally, filling out the the questionnaire “Portfolio of Global Experience” not only encourages people, both children and adults, to become more aware of the global aspects of their lives it also provides important information about the respondent.

These are just a few ideas for learners drawn from several exercises in Encounters With Social Thought to stimulate thinking about one’s actions and beliefs. It is the task of sociologists to raise questions about people’s behavior as they interact in their families, in groups, in the community and the broader society. Goals of Centre for Personalised Education – Personalised Education Now (CPE-PEN) emphasize the integration of learning, life and community and learning that is self-motivated. Encounters With Social Thought aims to meet these goals.

Encounters With Social Thought
3rd Edition
by Edith W. King
Amazon: Kindle £3.31(incl. VAT) 2015

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