A broad insight of the educational process is attained through the examination of the educational policy through a sociological perspective (Au & Ferrare, 2015). Sociologists research the provision of education, including; systems that area created at distinct levels of the government, the outcomes of the individual and the organization, and the implementation of these policies. A significant influence of educational policy is the historical context that shapes the policy, the societal consequences, and forces that extend beyond the school wall and the political setting of reform (Au & Ferrare, 2015). In America, various educational policies can be examined through sociological theories. Andreas Schleicher reviews these policies in his TED talk on, "Use data to build better schools" ("Andreas Schleicher: Use Data to Build Better Schools"). This essay focuses on addressing one educational policy from the Ted Talk from Schleicher, "attracting the most talented teacher in the most challenging classroom." And describing the sociological theory that is directly tied to the American educational policy. Also, the essay provides policy-based suggestions to improved educational equality, outcomes, and achievements.
The sociological theory that is best linked to attracting the most talented teacher in the most challenging classroom is the symbolic interactionists theory that studies the dynamics of the school, and the associations between teachers and students; this theory looks into how these associations affect everyday life (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). Research that supports the effectiveness of tutoring is dated back to many years ago and demonstrated the positive impacts of a talented teacher teaching a challenged student in a particular subject on the achievements of students (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017. When the symbolic interactionist theory is applied in the classroom, the impacts of the size of the class is assessed, where the most motivated and experienced teachers take smaller classes while the newest teachers take bigger classes. The distinctions that are found within the sizes of these classrooms reflect the skills and qualities of both students and teachers. In a study conducted in students in Tennessee in 1985, teachers in a public school were randomly assigned to either small classes or big classes (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). The study found out that those students that attended smaller classes completed high school and joined college (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). Smaller classes enabled teachers to interact with students better, and cater to their distinct needs, benefiting them in various ways. Hence, providing the most talented teacher in the most challenging classroom has been linked to improvements in student's performance.
Studies that are guided by the symbolic interactionist theory suggests that the expectations of teachers influence how much their students learn (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). Research indicates that when teachers view theory students as smart, these students learn more through their educator's behavior. Educators who think that their learners are intelligent and praise them on equal measures tend to make them feel smart, hence motivate better performance (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). Also, how teachers treat boys and girls' matter; research on the symbolic interactionist traditions suggest that when a teacher praises boy often on subjects like math and science, they tend to inform girls that they are not suited for excellent performance in these subjects. Since teachers might not be aware of their behavior impacting performance in boys and girls, efforts have been made in America to educate teachers on various ways of sending messages to distinct students and strategies they can utilize to promote more exceptional achievement and interest in specific subjects including math and science, in both genders.
Policy-Based Suggestions to Improve Educational Equality, Outcomes or Achievement
Educators feel that students perform better when they are in tracked classes because those with similar abilities have access to more attention from their teachers. However, conflict theorists think and suggest that tracking that is also placing students in terms of advanced and low achievers leads students to the development of self-fulfilling views that they have to live up to societal expectations and their teachers' standards. Research suggests that education should aim at providing equal opportunities rather than maintaining an established configuration of power (Marris, 2018).
Women need to be issued unlimited educational opportunities and a capacity to attain equal rights, including financial freedom. According to the feminist theory, educational systems have aspects of unequal opportunities and unequal treatments for women, with almost 75 percent of the illiterate population in the United States being women. Research suggests that as compared to men, women in employment are paid less in nearly all industries (Marris, 2018).
Schools need to improve their learning resources, learning conditions, and all aspects of education that affect how students learn in them. Conflict theorists suggest that a lack of resources in American public schools has led to social inequality, with tests favoring middle-class students with high socioeconomic status; this is because the aspects of their backgrounds have ensured that they afford specific experiences that can help them answer distinct questions on tests (Marris, 2018).
Compulsory education should serve the interests of both workers and the upper capitalist class. Conflict theorists have identified that the origin of compulsive schooling, which was to prevent the values of immigrants from corrupting the values of Americans, has shown ow Americans believe to be a better group than the others. Research suggests that education should be aimed at teaching learners the skills that they need for the new industrial economy (Marris, 2018).
Sociological theories are a basis of knowledge on how individuals understand education and its policies. Conflict theorists have identified schools to be centers of perpetuating gender and racial inequalities and class differences. Feminist theorists focus on the issues of inequality based on gender, in education. Symbolic theorists, on the other hand, focus on labeling individuals, s through education. Also, some functionalist theorists focus on how education benefits the community by preparing individuals for later responsibilities. Despite that, education plays a significant role in the lives of individuals and the community as a whole, and sociologists view education in diverse ways.
"Andreas Schleicher: Use Data to Build Better Schools." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2020. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xmr87nsl74
Au, W., & Ferrare, J. J. (Eds.). (2015). Mapping corporate education reform: Power and policy networks in the neoliberal state. Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=R5oGCAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=American+Educational+policies&ots=EjeD4HniEo&sig=lEDYHBlhpK9DEi54EAPIT7dim4E&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=American%20Educational%20policies&f=false
Bowe, R., Ball, S. J., & Gold, A. (2017). Reforming education and changing schools: Case studies in policy sociology. Routledge. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/JOY/Downloads/9781315412139_googlepreview.pdfMarris, P. (2018). Dilemmas of social reform: poverty and community action in the United States. Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780203793282
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