Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Naomi Jeffery Petersen
Social context is the broad framework for understanding that learning occurs in a specific constellation of personal interactions and effects. There are two aspects of social context in schools: literacy is the key to unlocking a world of interaction, while at the same time interaction within school is the key to unlocking the world of literacy. There are several social purposes for schools in terms of preparing students for civic life and to transmit a knowledge base (cultural literacy), but in terms of social learning theory, school simply provides a context for a student to make meaning of the experience. Schools try to establish effective learning environments within classrooms in order to increase achievement and therefore opportunities for students to change themselves and their contexts. Educational leaders are therefore interested in analyzing and improving the social context within schools, while understanding the students' contexts outside of school and the school's ...