How can sociological perspective be considered as particularly important for second language planning?Please give answer in detail.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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There are three major sociological perspectives that aim to analyze the fundamental concepts of everyday society at a micro-cosmically and macro-cosmically. By micro-cosmically, social perspectives aim to explore those small patterns that create the human agency for change. Through macro-cosmic analysis sociological perspective aims to explain the trends of at-large  and much bigger social shareholders.

These perspectives can be applied for L2 planning because, as a social need, L2 learning must be addressed simultaneously along with many other kinds of community services.

The first of the three perspectives explores society at the microcosmic level. Introduced in the 1920's by George H. Mead (1863–1931) Symbolic Interactionism analyzes verbal, non verbal communication and symbolic communication (through icons, gestures and anything that has an alternative meaning). This is micro-analysis because it goes to the bottom of just about everything from what each social symbol means, to how one symbol is used differently from one social group to the next.

In this case, a second language learning program would be best analyzed under this perspective because we want ensure that both, the native and the target language are understood textually and contextually from beginning to end. Understanding verbal, non-verbal, and symbolic communication is imperative for the complete understanding of a second language. It is also a useful tool to go to when in doubt, and a formidable skill to teach future language instructions.

Functionalism as the word implies, analyzes how the different systems within society actually work effectively together. This, of course is explored at a macrocosmic level because it is implied that each organization conducts its own kind of micro-level assessments. Surely a second language program could be planned keeping in mind how it will serve as an agent of change at a larger scale. Mainly this is accomplished when we have a goal to train a professional learning community as a culturally aware and even bilingual professional community. This will set the goal of the L2 planning to creating citizens of the world, and of the future. Establishing a culturally-tolerant society brings on either mechanic solidarity (tight, identify bonds), or organic solidarity (we are interdependent and still considered equal). Nevertheless it is a notion to consider within functionalism.

The last of the theories is conflict theory which mainly studies the factors that make society become divided. This includes the economy, racial profiling, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and much more. It entails that society does not serve its citizens equally and, as a result, there is negative social uproar. Surely conflict theory is important to consider in order to avoid such conflicts, but it is far from a the primary theory to use when planning for a social service that aims to educate people.

Therefore, functionalism and symbolic interactionism are the two theories that are best to cover a social program at the micro and macro levels.

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