Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, has argued that schools are practically the only spaces in which children learn to interact and resolve disputes with their peers, and that this is one of the most important roles of a school. Haidt claims that the rise of overprotective...
Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, has argued that schools are practically the only spaces in which children learn to interact and resolve disputes with their peers, and that this is one of the most important roles of a school. Haidt claims that the rise of overprotective "helicopter parenting" has left more young people with social difficulties, meaning that when they reach college, disputes are more likely to escalate and involve deans and other authority figures. Much of the educational mission of a school can now be achieved through interaction with technology, rather than with other people, so socialization is now perhaps the primary reason for students to continue visiting school campuses, rather than learning from home.
The perpetuation of gender, race and class socialization depends very much on the school. Single-sex schools are increasingly rare, but still exist and create their own set of socialization issues. Some of these can be handled by judicious partnership with other schools for social events, drama and music. Private schools tend to be the preserve of the upper and wealthy middle classes, and the same may be said of public schools in particular districts where housing is expensive. Greater diversity is sometimes possible through, again, partnership with other schools or, in the case of private schools, the use of scholarships and bursaries. However, the dominant culture at the school is still likely to be relatively homogenous. Schools in the centers of large cities provide much more diversity, but this often comes with other social and linguistic problems which impact both education and socialization.
The effect of bullying on socialization depends on how it is handled. If the situation is managed quickly and effectively, the lesson can be salutary for both parties: the victim has an effective model for coping with bullying, and the bully learns that his/her conduct is ineffective and will not be tolerated. Bullying that is allowed to continue and escalate, however, has a purely negative effect on socialization.