Course Description

This course introduces students to key perspectives and themes in the sociology of education. Sociology of education studies education as an integral part of larger social systems and institutions, often with a critical view on the ways in which education is implicated in the relations of power and inequality that traverse these systems and institutions.

Theoretical perspectives covered in this course include the functionalist, the Marxist/Marxian, and various other critical perspectives hinging on social differences such as culture, power, gender, race/ethnicity. Furthermore, important themes such as neoliberal-ism/ization, globalization and inter-/trans-national mobility, curriculum, critical pedagogy and alternative education, are also examined.

The course provides opportunities for students to understand theories and concepts through focused case studies set in specific sociocultural contexts. Assignments such as essay writing and team-based lecture are used to promote both individual and collaborative forms of learning.

To broaden students’ horizon, various guest speakers are invited to provide guest lectures based on their research and/or practice.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, students should

  • have developed a broader and more critical view about the main roles education plays in society;
  • be able to rearticulate the different theoretical perspectives and/or conceptual debates in the sociology of education;
  • be able to re-evaluate and re-interpret their own educational career and schooling experiences in a fresh and critical way;
  • be able to apply one or more theories learned in the course to analyze one educational issue/phenomenon through writing the essay assignment.

Special feature of this course: use of teams

This course, although not a TBL (Team-based learning) course, makes extensive use of the team. Each tutorial group will be divided into four teams, each with five or so team members. The team is the basic unit in and through which students will undertake a variety of learning activities. Team formation is permanent; in other words, the same members stay as a team throughout the course. Students are not allowed to “jump” between tutorial groups, not even occasionally. If a student must miss a tutorial, s/he will have a valid reason (usually an MC), and will be recorded accordingly. S/he can still participate in a tutorial of a different time slot on the same day, but only do so as an observer, and no credit will be given.