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Formal and informal education

As already mentioned, education is not solely concerned with the basic academic concepts that a student learns in the classroom. Societies also educate their children, outside of the school system, in matters of everyday practical living. These two types of learning are referred to as formal education and informal education.

Formal education describes the learning of academic facts and concepts through a formal curriculum. Arising from the tutelage of ancient Greek thinkers, centuries of scholars have examined topics through formalized methods of learning. Education in earlier times was only available to the higher classes; they had the means for access to scholarly materials, plus the luxury of leisure time that could be used for learning. The Industrial Revolution and its accompanying social changes made education more accessible to the general population. Many families in the emerging middle class found new opportunities for schooling.

The modern U.S. educational system is the result of this progression. Today, basic education is considered a right and responsibility for all citizens. Expectations of this system focus on formal education, with curricula and testing designed to ensure that students learn the facts and concepts that society believes are basic knowledge.

In contrast, informal education    describes learning about cultural values, norms, and expected behaviors by participating in a society. This type of learning occurs both through the formal education system and at home. Our earliest learning experiences generally happen via parents, relatives, and others in our community. Through informal education, we learn how to dress for different occasions, how to perform regular life routines like shopping for and preparing food, and how to keep our bodies clean.

A woman and young boy in the kitchen frosting cookies.
Parents teaching their children to cook provide an informal education. (Photo courtesy of eyeliam/flickr)

Cultural transmission refers to the way people come to learn the values, beliefs, and social norms of their culture. Both informal and formal education include cultural transmission. For example, a student will learn about cultural aspects of modern history in a U.S. History classroom. In that same classroom, the student might learn the cultural norm for asking a classmate out on a date through passing notes and whispered conversations.

Access to education

Another global concern in education is universal access    . This term refers to people’s equal ability to participate in an education system. On a world level, access might be more difficult for certain groups based on class or gender (as was the case in the United States earlier in the nation’s history, a dynamic we still struggle to overcome). The modern idea of universal access arose in the United States as a concern for people with disabilities. In the United States, one way in which universal education is supported is through federal and state governments covering the cost of free public education. Of course, the way this plays out in terms of school budgets and taxes makes this an often-contested topic on the national, state, and community levels.

Questions & Answers

arbritrery not verboly verboly communicate our massage
Ghar Reply
All right ↪
Sanusi
someone to tell me other cultural elements apart from values and beliefs
Stella Reply
The major elements of culture are symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. Language makes effective social interaction possible and influences how people conceive of concepts and objects. Major values that distinguish the United States include individualism, competition, and a commitment
Mark
to a major commitment to work ethic
Mark
is there any relationship between sociology and political science?
Kennedy Reply
yhyh..i think so
Halifax
yes
zeth
help me understand the relationship between the two disciplines
Kennedy
they both study human society
Rabi
however sociology study human societies in a wide range of institutions while pol sciences study could be limited to issues that concerns the government activities and processes
Rabi
what is social change
Maryann Reply
Social change in sociology is the alteration of mechanisms within the social structure, characterized by changes in cultural symbols, rules of behaviour, social organizations, or value systems.
derickamishae
a social change is the difference of material objects and the attitude of using such things along the time and space .
Aqeel
Also collective behavior and social movements are just two of the forces driving social change, which is the change in society created through social movements as well as external factors like environmental shifts or technological innovations. Essentially, any disruptive shift in the status quo.
derickamishae
Derickamishae Thomas,you are corect about social change
Aqeel
I also think social change is when groups of individual at a certain period can no longer adapt with the current structure they find themselves in the society& decides to come together to bring about about a different social structure that would or could be of benefit to them.
Rabi
Can anyone tell me in urdu plzzz?
Shahid
about what thing
Ayaz
@Ayaz Allai. ..about social change?
Shahid
what is methodology?
Silent
Alteration in social structures or culture over time
Mark
depends on your research goal.  It depends on what subjects (and who) you want to study.  Let's say you are interested in studying what makes people happy, or why some students are more conscious about recycling on campus.  To answer these questions, you need to make a decision about how to collect
Mark
The methodology explains what you did and how you did it, allowing evaluation of the reliability and validity of the research. It should include: The type of research you did How you collected and/or selected your data How you analyzed your data Any tools or materials used
derickamishae
like quantitative or qualitative research methods.
derickamishae
great answer
Mark
What is sex can anyone tell me?
Shahid
shahid nawaz....... the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive rules...
Ayaz
hiii
Halifax
please can anyone give me 5 ways of the connection between the self and the family?
Halifax
social change is a movement from point to other. this movement it concerns part or parts in the whole of society. it too difficult to talk about change of the whole society...
hicham
why are you talking about social change
Sanusi
can someone assist me with modernization theory
Raakie
please my friends I am learning from you people's if you see a mistake correct me before I left the place where I make it thanks
Sanusi
modernization theories are constructs used to explain the process of progressive transition from one point of civilisation to another. precisely the transition from the traditional society to modern society.
Rabi
Advantage of Extended family over Nuclear family
Patricia Reply
Children are likely to get Financial Support, when his/her Parents are poor
ALPHA
nuclear family means a maried cuple live with unmaried childrens
Aqeel Reply
what are nuclear and non nuclear families?
Syed Reply
nuclear family mean , a maried cuple live with there unmaried children
Aqeel
 extended family group consists of non-nuclear(or "non-immediate") family members considered together with nuclear (or "immediate") familymembers.
Aqeel
sir, a joint family would be considered non nuclear?
Syed
yes offcourse,
Aqeel
Basic features of evolutionary theory
Krishna Reply
previous limits of engineering not yet almost surpassed
Matthew
what is collective behavior
Owais Reply
what is slavery?
naveed Reply
what is stratification
naveed
what are the common characteristics in the early studies carried by anthropologist
justus Reply
How can we define symbolic interaction in family?
hafsa Reply
how does technology impact the soceity?
Lizzy Reply
technology impulse the society to change its manners . bcz society cannot b live without. it has to adopt technology with it's new trend.
Sajjad
who can tell me benefits of sociological imaginations?
Mohamed Reply
who cn tell me benefits of sociological imaginations?
Mohamed
helps in being analytical and prevents too much bias in our observations
Rabi
please someone should elaborate on gerontology..
onoja Reply
study of ageing proccess is called gerontology...
Ayaz

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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