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Socialization is very important for every individual because without it, we people would not be able to become real social beings. We continue to be socialized throughout our lives. What is socialization? According to Zandan (1993), "socialization is a process of social interaction by which people acquire the knowledge, attitudes, values and behaviors essential for effective participation in society" (p.68). By desirable quality of socialization, a plain biological organism becomes transformed into a genuine social being.
Many individuals and institutions play significant parts in influencing and socializing children and youth by means of rewarding or punishing their behavior, of providing instruction in social rules and roles or simply of serving as a role model (Bassis, Gelles &Levine, 1991). These stakeholders are called agents of socialization. For many societies, these agents have historically been the church, peer group, family and school; however, the role of the church has recently become less influential in those societies, and it has been replaced by the mass media (Ornstein & Levine, 2006).
Although each agent of socialization has its vital roles in socializing people, especially children and youth, the main focus of this writing is to mainly cover school roles, school reform and school effectiveness in socializing students, and the followings are the focus questions of this study.
What are the key roles of school and how can they help socialize students?
How can educators create a more supportive school environment for students?
What are the characteristics of effective schools?
II. KEY ROLES OF SCHOOL AND STUDENT SOCIALIZATION
Education in school is more relatively formal comparing to that in family or in peer-group contexts because students' academic performances are always tested and evaluated (Ornstein & Levine, 2006). So, what are the key functions of school? While the official and precise purpose of school is to teach students intellectual and technical skills, it also teaches learners cultural values and attitudes that prepare them for their roles as an accepted citizen in the society. For example, students at school are expected to do the accepted things, and they have to obey the rules and regulations. School is the primary agent for weaning children from home and introducing them to the larger society, and it is also the student's introduction to impersonal, bureaucratic organization (Calhoun, Light & Keller, 1994). These experiences are obtained from what is called the hidden curriculum -- a term used to refer to what, other than academic content, students learn from what they do or are expected to do in school or the unwritten social rules and expectations of behavior that we all seem to know, but were never taught (Bieber, 1994). For many reasons, it is essential that learners be aware of and assist themselves in learning the hidden curriculum. First, the lack of understanding in hidden curriculum will result in barriers to social acceptability when children and youth make errors in this area. In addition, the lack of awareness of the hidden curriculum can also be a large contributor to increasing uncertainty and stress levels, which can affect attention and availability to learning. Finally, self-esteem and independence can be greatly reduced, given the number of opportunities for error that exist when a person does not understand the hidden curriculum.
III. SCHOOL REFORM
Based on many different pieces of research, there are many problems found in school complex such as drug use, alcoholism, suicide, early pregnancy and delinquency and violence (Gelles & Levine, 1999). In order to deal with these problems in general, Ornstein & Levine (2006) & Schlechty (1990) suggested several important ideas that schools should:
divide its large complex into smaller communities for learning,
create a core curriculum,
emphasize cooperative learning,
eliminate tracking system - learning level-based dividing system,
develop stronger partnerships with communities,
cooperate with other institutions in operating school-based health clinic,
employ many more counselors, school workers and other service personnel,
implement program to improve school-wide discipline, teach students conflict resolution skills, develop peer-mediation mechanism and control gang activities.
emphasize the link between education and good health,
IV. EFFECTIVE SCHOOL
Although some recommendations are given to improve school condition and create humane climate for student's learning, there are still some more suggestions for creating more academically demanding schools. Social and interpersonal side of school is important, but academic life should not be forgotten, and there are many key factors which will be able to make school more effective in encouraging student achievement (Schlechty, 1990). The followings are the five important factors suggested to help build effective schools.
Factor 1: Strong leadership
Successful principals provide instructional leadership. They spend most of their time working with students and less time in the office. They observe what is going on in the classroom, hold high expectations for teacher performance and student achievement, and provide necessary resources. They are active and involved. The following are the characteristics or effective leaders in good school. They:
articulate a clear school mission,
are a visible presence in classroom and school complex,
hold high expectations for teachers and students,
spend a major portion of the day working with teachers to improve instruction.
Are relatively involved in diagnosing instructional problems, and
Create a positive school climate.
Factor 2: A clear school mission
Good principals in effective schools must be able to develop a vision of what that school should be and to share that vision with all members of the educational community so that they altogether can stress innovation and improvement for better achievement.
Factor 3: Preventing school violence to provide school with a safe and orderly climate
What are the warning signs indicate violence in school? How should they be detected? Of course, many signals can be seen leading to violence in school.
Many students at times display social withdrawal, feeling isolated or rejected.
Children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse or are bullied by others.
Weak academics can also be a result of emotional or psychological turmoil.
Anger and a history of disciplinary problems are also potential for future violence.
Affiliation with gangs and inappropriate access to gun are all parts of problem.
In order to prevent violence, safe schools should implement some programs and social services. School psychologists, special education programs, family social workers can help increase communication and reduce tension. These are all components of preventing school violence.
Factor 4: Monitoring student progress
Effective schools carefully monitor and access student progress in a variety ways:
Norm-referenced tests are used to compare individual students with others in a nationwide norm group.
Objective-referenced tests measures whether a student has mastered a designated body of knowledge.
Teacher-made tests may be given more frequently than assessment administered by the states.
Recordkeeping also counts. Students should be responsible for keeping track of course objectives and their progress towards meeting those objectives.
Assigning and monitoring homework can also be an important factor in promoting achievement.
Factor 5: High Expectations
In effective schools, teachers hold high expectations that students can learn and they translate these expectations into teaching behavior. They set objectives, work toward mastery of those objectives, spend more time on instruction and actively monitor student progress. Moreover, teachers also hold expectations for themselves. They believe that they can deliver high-quality instruction. Always strive for excellence no matter how well a class goes. Next time, it will be even better.
Some new effective-school findings can also offer more insights beyond five factors of effective schooling. These new findings are the followings:
smaller schools and smaller classes
increased learning time
Due to the significance of socialization for social beings, all of the agents -- family, per-group, mass media, church and school -- should be actively involved in improving and creating good environment for all individuals so that they can later fit well in this society as good citizens. From lessons gained from past and current situations, some schools need to make changes for better improvement in terms of student socialization and some useful points raised above need to be applied into school environment to make school even more effective in improving quality of learners.