The Birth of Sociology
Episode 22 of Redefining Reality

The Great Courses
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Waves of Change: Social Change
Part of the Series: The Way We Live Series
What is social change and what are its causes? This lesson provides a deeper understanding of the main theories and concepts of social change, modernity and post-modernity. Particular emphasis on the four dimension of modernization: the loss of community (Ferdinand Tonnies), the division of labor (Emile Durkheim), rationalization (Max Weber),…
Fitting In: Socialization
Part of the Series: The Way We Live Series
Humans are born without culture. For virtually anyone, culture begins with the family and continues through other social agents such as school, peer groups and mass media. This lesson follows the general process by which people develop their personalities and learn about the world around them - a process referred…
When Culture Invades the Classroom
Episode 7 of How the World Learns
Investigate the idea that "non-school factors" such as student poverty are among the strongest predictors of learning. Examine how two of the largest of these factors--culture and economics--play out in South Africa, which is experiencing an HIV/AIDS crisis, and in China, where test scores and national economics are thought to…
Sputnik Launches the Science-Math Race
Episode 2 of How the World Learns
Dating back to Sputnik in the 1950s, education culture has been driven by anxiety. Learn about the history of "crisis" in U.S. education before investigating how America's educational system compares with schools and students in other countries. Focus on TIMSS in particular, which tracks mathematics and science achievement in about…
Understanding Human Culture
Part of the Series: Human Geography
Humans are among the most social animals on the planet. We need a shared system of language, beliefs, norms and values to survive and mature from birth to adulthood. In this program, Alec Murphy investigates human culture and how geography helps everyone make sense of the cultural landscape.
The Foundations of Civil Society
Episode 19 of How the World Learns
Think critically about political socialization and why it plays such a large part in education worldwide by looking closely at the various ways students are politically socialized, the results of these efforts, and who realistically--rather than ideally--benefits.
The Value in Linking School to Jobs
Episode 10 of How the World Learns
Many business and industry leaders say there is no connection between formal school education--which teaches information, but not skills--and what is needed in the world of work. Investigate renewed global efforts to test whether vocational training can better prepare youth to participate in the emerging technology-driven knowledge economy.
Who Is Accountable for Education?
Episode 14 of How the World Learns
Accountability culture varies from country to country and region to region, but three common elements appear in most educational systems. Compare and contrast how access, achievement, and a combination of standards and assessments play out in the U.S. and Finland, and look at one notable exception--the consensus culture of Japan.
Social Progress
Episode 25 of Redefining Reality
Continue your investigation of social reality by looking at the concept of progress. Social optimists and pessimists alike believe that society is progressing, but they see different causes. Evaluate their theories, and explore the idea that Western culture is doomed to collapse under its own weight.
What Should We Compare about Education?
Episode 5 of How the World Learns
Do the achievement rankings paint an accurate picture of what's happening in schools, or is the crisis politically manufactured? Get answers as you analyze common criticisms of national education systems through the lens of three recurring phenomena--achievement envy, the accountability expectation, and access entitlement--and look at approaches to shifting school…
Borrowing Foreign School Cultures
Episode 9 of How the World Learns
Why are educational comparisons so popular? Should educational reform be driven by economic competition? Think critically about these questions as you examine which countries and cultures are and aren't comparable, and consider the United Arab Emirates' unique strategy of importing 50 Finnish teachers to reform two schools based on the…
Why Blame the Teacher?
Episode 11 of How the World Learns
Is low student performance the fault of teachers? Consider this question as you study characteristics of students, teachers, curriculum, and culture in the "model" educational systems to see what makes them different (or not) from the U.S. and other middle- or low-performing countries. Look at the elusiveness of quality teachers…