Agents of Socialization, Essay Example

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Essay

While I view all of the agents of socialization listed in assignment No. 02 as being important, I believe education to be the most important.  We are born with a blank slate upon which will be written the appropriate roles for one’s culture and one’s society.  Some of these lessons are taught informally, usually verbally and through modeling the desired behaviour to be learned.  Others are taught formally, in an educational environment.  Education is the key to just about everything, beginning with the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  These help people not only to learn more about the roles of the culture into which they are born but also of their society as well as some of the world’s other cultures and societies.  One of the functions of education is giving learners the ability to think and to evaluate what they read, see, and hear.  Perhaps in their culture or society arranged marriages are the norm.  Through reading, their teachers’ instruction, and the internet, they learn that is not the case everywhere; and they decide that they want to—and do—marry for love.  As a result of their  formal—and even informal—education influence, their beliefs and behaviour have changed.  As they progress with their education, individuals will discover that there are a multitude of jobs for which they can train, that their only option is not taking over the family farm as they have been conditioned to believe.  They may have a low opinion of themselves, thinking that they cannot do anything else, but with good grades and self-esteem classes, education can also change their self-concept positively.

I believe that the symbolic interactionist theory best supports my answer to question No.

Herbert Blumer is, basically, credited with developing this theory, which he outlined as “a study of group life and conduct” (Nelson, 1998).  Blumer had three core principles to his theory; namely, “meaning, language, and thought.  These core principles lead to conclusions about the creation of a person’s self and socialization into a larger community” (ibid.). Education, both informal and formal, develop an individual’s knowledge of meaning, language, and thought and thereby aids his or her “socialization into a larger community” (ibid.). As a member of a larger community where interaction will take place with many people, important informal—as well as formal–education will take place thereby influencing and shaping us into who we become.  We will need to use our developed thought processes well in order to filter the heterogeneous beliefs and behaviour found in this large society. The hope would be that education prepared us well for discerning positive elements and thereby raise our self-concept.

As stated earlier, babies are born with blank slates, which get written on through informal and formal education every day of their lives.  Education develops their ability to make wise choices and seize opportune moments.  Furthermore, a good education as, for instance, becoming a cardiologist enables the individual to save lives and to earn an excellent income, which would enable him or her and his or her family to enjoy an enviable lifestyle and to become a bit of a philanthropist.  Such a person would be considered to be well socialized into the greater society and have an excellent level of self-esteem.  Education also helps us to understand why it is wrong to discriminate against people on the basis of gender, age, race, religion, and appearance.

Now contrast that with someone who has only a public school education and is jobless.

References

Nelson, L. D.  (1998). Herbert Blumer’s Symbolic Interactionism.  Retrieved on November 24, 2012, from http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Papers/App.

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