The Theory of Symbolic Interactionalism Term Paper by ABCs

The Theory of Symbolic Interactionalism
An examination of the theory of symbolic interactionalism and how it can be applied to teaching practice.
# 113247 | 1,832 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2009 | US

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This paper discusses the theory of symbolic interactionalism and suggests that it offers the most liberating and positive view of the human mind for educators today. The paper discusses the practical applications of the theory. It discusses the paradigm's view of the student and his or her mind and then looks at how this view impacts the nature of how a sociological theory is put into practice by teachers.

From the Paper:

"Rather than stressing the human being's relationship to society, or conflict with society, the sociological theory of symbolic interactionalism views the socialization process in developmental terms, in a manner that may be particularly fruitful for educators in the field. The needs of the individual and his or her development process are paramount, not the needs of society. The founder of symbolic interactionalism, George Herbert Mead, believed that humans structure their consciousness through the identification of symbols, like letters and words--but also the symbols that convey authority, or membership within a certain group. Symbols are based upon mirroring or copying others, such as when a child mimics or copies the behavior of a parent or teacher but then builds upon these lessons, conveying new symbolic meaning to the new word groups or processes he or she is learning (Marshall 1998)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Four 20th century theories of education." Excerpt from George F. Kneller. Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. 1962. Excerpt available 2 Jan 2008 at
  • McClellan, Kenneth. (2000). "Functionalism." Sociological Theories. Grinnell University. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at
  • Marshall, Gordon. (1998). "Sociology of education." Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 from the Dictionary of Sociology
  • Simmel, Georg. (1903). The Sociology of conflict: I." American Journal of Sociology.9: 490-525. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at
  • O'Boyle, Kathleen. "Symbolic interactionalism." Ohio University. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008 at

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