Interactionism – Education

Lesson objectiveTo explore evaluate interactionism
Lesson outcomes• Compare interactionism to other perspectives.
• Evaluate the interactionist perspective.

They recognise the importance of what happens inside schools.

Educational achievement = Measured by processes within schools and the effects this has on the students. Favoured by interactionist perspectives. This is good because it allows us to understand all students are different and cannot always be measured qualitatively.

They are too deterministic.

Interactionist theories are too deterministic (simplistic). They always say that a negative label will incur a negative response. Sometimes negative labels have the opposite effect and students buck up their ideas. This is supported by Fuller (1980) – refer to his study for more information on this. 

They do not focus enough on power and society. 

The views held by teachers of what is a good and ideal student is are reflected and shown by society. In fact, it could be argued that this is where teachers gain their perception. Students who treated similarly and held to the same standards of the workplace’s norms and values preparing them for the real world. This is not labelling, polarisation or any other manipulative setting created by a teacher, it is simply a fact, conform or be rejected by society.

Other factors. 

Interactionism is useful when looking at factors within schools, but fail to emphasise the impact of other external and internal factors, e.g. home, material and cultural deprivation. Schools and teachers cannot be held 100% accountable for student progression, therefore, an accurate study needs to look at both micro and macro interpretations.

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