Education and Society

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
SOCI 2245
Education and Society
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 2 hours/week;

Seminar 2 hours/week


Hybrid: 2 hours/week in class and 2 hours/week online


Fully online

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Some or all of the following methods of instruction may be used:

  • Lecture
  • Small Group Exercises
  • Class Discussion
  • Dialogue-based seminars
  • Audio-Visual Materials
  • Guest Speakers
Course Description
This course is designed to provide an overview of sociological theories and research about education in modern societies. This course examines the history, development and current state of educational systems (primary, secondary and post-secondary) as important institutions of society and explores how social forces shape what is taught, how and to whom, and analyzes the roles that education plays in Canada and globally. In doing so, the course touches on a variety of topics including: the effects of education on beliefs and values; the effects of school characteristics on student achievement and educational attainment; education and inequality; cross-national differences in educational systems; the link between education and national economic performance; the organizational characteristics of schooling and; prospects for school reform. Discussion of research in these areas will help to dispel myths about education and will provide a sense of the powerful impact as well as the limitations of schools in modern societies.
Course Content
  1. The nature of sociological inquiry and the study of schooling
  2. Theories of schooling and society: sociological approaches to research of education
  3. The Canadian educational system: history
  4. The Canadian educational system: design
  5. The organization of teaching and learning
  6. Critical perspectives on the social context of teaching
  7. Critical perspectives on the politics of teaching
  8. Institutional linkages: Coupling education and economy
  9. Critical perspectives on pedagogy: Sex and gender
  10. Critical perspectives on pedagogy: Race and ethnicity
  11. Education systems worldwide
  12. Future directions for Canadian education
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. Convey an understanding of and about the histories and development of educational systems in Canada from the perspective of key sociological thinkers.
  2. Apply sociological concepts and theoretical perspectives to the formal, non-formal and informal aspects of the educational system in ways that are connected to political, economic, legal, religious and other sectors/forces of society.
  3. Identify how social forces such as political and economic conditions shape various components of educational institutions (i.e. their mission, structure, pedagogical orientation and curriculum) and how education occurs in and out of the context of schools;
  4. Examine the social roles that education systems play in Canada and globally.
  5. Impart a critical understanding of current social issues related to education with an emphasis on the implications for socially responsible citizenship and civic engagement.
  6. Describe the educational system in Canada from a historical perspective with an understanding of social forces that shape curriculum, pedagogical orientation and various advantages and challenges faced by particular social groups.
  7. Articulate an analysis of longstanding tensions related to education for the common good versus serving the political and economic elite including: public versus private education; access and excellence in opportunity and outcome for diverse populations and; the function of higher education in society overall.
  8. Apply knowledge gained to the interpretation and critique of perspectives about social issues relevant to the institution of education in society.
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will take place in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy.  Evaluation will be based on course objectives and may include quizzes, exams, critical essays, literature reviews, term/research projects and/or oral presentations.  The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the course.

One example of a grading scheme:

Midterm exam  15%
Final exam  15%
Research proposal  15% 
Research paper  25%
Seminar presentation  20%
Participation  10%
TOTAL 100%

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks will be updated periodically. The following are examples of textbooks that may be used in this course:

Davies, Scott and Neil Guppy (most recent edition). The Schooled Society: An Introduction to the Sociology of Education. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Wotherspoon, Terry (most recent edition). The Sociology of Education in Canada: Critical Perspectives. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.