Sociology Questions and Answers

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Critically evaluate the importance of sociology to a teacher.

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Julianne Hansen, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Clemson University

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There are some fundamental principles typically covered in sociology courses that are beneficial for those training to be teachers.

Teachers generally choose their careers at least in some part because they have experienced success in that environment. But in training to work with all students, it is important to begin to consider the experiences of others and how that may impact instruction.

For example, the ways students show interest in a subject or classroom actually varies from culture to culture, from boys to girls, and across socioeconomic cultures. A teacher who expects interest to be shown by smiles may misinterpret other social cues of interest unless they are trained to look for varied other displays.

In trying to determine how to best motivate their students, it is helpful for teachers to understand the factors that influence human behavior. While some students are motivated by grades, others are motivated by simply feeling a sense of accomplishment. (And yet others are motivated by a basketball coach who frequently checks in with teachers.) Sociology provides those training to be teachers with various means of understanding their students' motivational needs, thereby allowing them to tap in to those areas and best support learning.

Exploring basic sociological principles such as gender, religion, health, and family allows teachers to consider their students whose backgrounds are different from their own. It provides new perspectives which will allow teachers to better understand their students' successes and struggles and will allow better opportunities to foster positive relationships with them.

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