The Importance of Social Dimensions of Education

The school and the community are linked in profound, often unseen, ways.
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The social dimension of education goes far beyond interpersonal relationships and developing the social skills which will support students throughout their lives. Education itself supports the social system; it supports its citizens' collective ideals and goals. On one hand, education advocates consensus in social thought and cooperation. On the other hand, education encourages people to examine the places where a society may need improvement. Social science theories related to education provide a helpful framework for examining the social dimension and its meaning.

1 Builds School-Community Relationships

A school is an integral part of the community. What is taught in a classroom affects students, their parents, teachers, staff, and leaks out into the rest of the community. Acceptable behavior in the school must also translate into acceptable behavior in the community, and vice versa. To give the social dimension meaning, schools should work with their community to develop programs that involve students with their community, and to develop programs that involve community members with the school.

2 Reduces Social Inequality

Social dimension meaning extends beyond classroom boundaries. To diminish social inequality in the outside world, educators must provide equal opportunities for all students inside school walls. Education is intended to level opportunities for vulnerable groups - including students with disabilities, students of lower socio-economic statuses, and students belonging to minority groups - by addressing these inequities. By developing policies and applying extra effort where it is needed, all students can be given a fair chance for success.

3 Supports the Diversity of Learners

Not all students have the same backgrounds, the same beliefs or the same life goals. Education needs to be flexible and take diversity into account. As suggested by social science theories related to education, teachers should make an effort to find out what students know before teaching, and then draw on this prior knowledge during lessons. It's the teacher's responsibility to make lessons as socially relevant as possible, linking together society at large with the classroom environment.

4 Teaches Social Responsibility

Although school should preserve collective ideals of peace and order in a society, it is also an environment where educators can address areas requiring social change. Social science theories related to education connect to the idea of social justice and complement social dimension meaning and definition. In addition to reducing social inequity, teachers must also discuss inequity in the classroom. Students must become aware of social problems in their world - including human rights, economic distribution, and social policy - in order to become proactive adults who instigate change.

Lexi Sorenson has been writing professionally since 2008. She has published articles in periodicals such as "The Maryland Gazette," "The Hamilton Spectator" and "Make." In addition to blogging, she writes fiction in her spare time. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from McGill University.