This is a brief text intended for use in undergraduate school-and-society classes. Your class may also be titled “Social foundations of education.” “Social foundations of education” is an interdisciplinary field that includes both humanities and social-science perspectives on schooling. It thus includes study of the philosophy and history of education as well as sociological, economic, anthropological, and political perspectives on schooling.
The core of most social foundations classes lies in the relationship between formal schooling and broader society. This emphasis means that while some parts of psychology may be related to the core issues of social foundations classes—primarily social psychology—the questions that are asked within a social-foundations class are different from the questions raised in child development, educational psychology, and most teaching-methods classes. For example, after finishing the first chapter of this text, you should be able to answer the question, “Why does the federal government pay public schools to feed poor students at breakfast and lunch?” Though there is some psychology research tying nutrition to behavior and learning, the policy is based on much broader expectations of schools. In this case, “Children learn better if they are well-fed” both is based on research and also is an incomplete answer.