Record: Oz Guterman and Ari Neuman, “What are we educating towards? Socialization, acculturization, and individualization as reflected in home education.” Educational Studies, 43, No. 3 (2017): 265-281. [Abstract]
Summary: Neuman is senior lecturer of education at Western Galilee College, in Akko, Israel, and Guterman is a professor in the Department of Human Resources at the same institution. In this article they discuss the educational objectives of 30 homeschooling mothers in terms of socialization, acculturization, and individualization.
These three terms were first determined by scholars looking to form an ultimate theoretical model of educational goals. To begin, the authors discuss the definitions of socialization, acculturization, and individualization:
- Socialization is based on the premise that education should equip young people with tools that enable them to fulfill their roles in society as spouses, parents, professionals, democratic citizens, etc.
- Acculturization is based on the premise that education should teach young people the views, values, beliefs, and products (e.g. books, paintings) that form the cornerstones of their culture.
- Individualization focuses on the view that education should enable each person to fulfill his or her potential in a process of self-realization.
In-depth, semi-structured interviews with 30 homeschooling mothers in Israel were used to see whether social, cultural or individual goals were mentioned more frequently. With the recordings of the interviews, the researchers coded the themes that were mentioned.
The least common theme to be mentioned was socialization. Only 13 of 30 respondents indicated that social goals such as functional life skills and social skills were important to their homeschooling practice. After that, 50% of the respondents (15 of 30) mentioned acculturization objectives such as morality and integrity, a positive attitude to others, family values, and religious values during their interview. Finally, 28 of the 30 mothers mentioned some form of individualization as an objective for homeschooling. The goals associated with individualization that arose during the interviews were the cultivation of self-realization, self-regulation, self-respect, independence, self-confidence, curiosity, inquisitiveness, and happiness. For all of these goals, the authors provide several representative quotes from the mothers.
Overall, the findings indicate that although the educational goals of the interviewees are linked to all three of the primary objectives, an especially strong emphasis was placed on individualization. Besides the greater number of respondents who mentioned it, there were also more quotes associated with individualization (124) than with the objectives of acculturization (29) and socialisation (24). The authors also make the point that individualization isn’t just for homeschoolers. Contemporary educators and researchers of education have also concluded that self-regulation and other aspects of individualization should be adopted in conventional schools as well.
Appraisal: Neuman and Guterman have released several studies in the past two years about homeschoolers’ perceptions of education, the goals of homeschoolers, emotional & behavioral development of homeschooling children, and motivations for homeschooling in Israel. Typically their studies are based around the analysis of homeschoolers and a theory such as constructivism. In this article, we learn how their sample (seemingly the same sample as this 2016 article) demonstrated interest in educational goals related to the three broad headings that researchers have used to classify educational goals in many settings: socialization, acculturization, and individualization. Although the interviews themselves are not that interesting, this classification is a useful one to be aware of when thinking about the goals of education in general.
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