Sociological Orientation to Education

Unit code: EDC1001 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Nicholson
Online Real Time


This unit is designed both to introduce you to key issues and concepts in the sociology of education and to build the academic reading and writing skills that will enable you to describe and analyse aspects of the social world from competing theoretical perspectives. In this unit you will examine a range of social factors, including socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity, which impact on students’ learning and development, on their access to educational opportunities and on their life chances. You will apply the concept of “sociological imagination” in educational contexts, analyse and interpret a range of sociological texts, and investigate the above mentioned social factors through the “lenses” of competing sociological theories. You will compare and contrast a range of responses to the social factors mentioned above, and examine competing ideological orientations to curriculum and teaching and learning practices; and in this context you will investigate the concepts of learning spaces and learning communities. Just as importantly, in this unit you will also develop competencies in various forms of academic writing – including exposition, analysis, comparison and contrast, and argument; these competencies will be developed in a sequenced way through a series of writing tasks, each of which is designed to be progressively more complex and to incorporate skills introduced in the previous task.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes and problems in the sociology of education and key sociological concepts applied in the field of education;
  2. Apply the concept of “sociological imagination” to a range of educational issues;
  3. Describe and analyse social factors impacting on students’ learning and development from contrasting theoretical perspectives;
  4. Analyse and critically evaluate two theoretical accounts of the role of education in society and social factors impacting on education.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Exercise
Grade: 30%
Compare and contrast two sociological theories
Assessment type: Essay
Grade: 45%
Argumentative essay
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 25%
Debate applying a sociological theory to an education issue

Required reading

Links to recommended readings and resources for this unit will be provided to students via the Learning Management System (VU Collaborate)

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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