The school represents a social structure and system of its own of students, teachers, administrators, and service personnel. In the various social sub-groups which are constantly forming and reforming, pupils get to fill social roles in many different groups, such as classes, clubs, athletic teams, orchestras, student councils, and a host of others.
The experiences in these various groups provide the social and psychological settings and conditions for the development of many aspects of social learning knowledge’s, attitudes, skills, and values.
The teacher and administrator must find ways in which all participants relate themselves to one another so that new social learnings result not only in greater social integration and efficiency but also in individual satisfaction of needs.
Several studies highlight the influence of the classroom climate. Lewin and his associates found that autocratic situations produced tension, individual hostility, and less stability in the group structure whereas in the democratic situation there was greater constructiveness and a stronger feeling of group property and group goals.
Pressey and Hanna compared two classes, one operated in the traditional manner, the other in a more or less permissive manner which encouraged social interaction. Students in the social interaction class knew the names of more of their classmates than in the traditional calls. Obviously, proper social atmosphere is essential for social contracts.
It is indicated that the child’s first social world is his family; he then shifts to a world in which his orientation grows out of being a part of a group of other children whom he accepts as equals. The school then becomes the social system which is an important setting in which children relate to one another.
Swensen and Rhulman, in analysing questionnaire responses from 1217 university sophomore men and women concerning many aspects of their extracurricular activities, found that the four chief reasons for participation in campus activities was in social living groups. Athletic events were the most popular spectator-type activities.
Two studies report the social influence of the teacher. Leeds found that the personality characteristic of the teacher affect the social and emotional development and adjustment of children.
Comments as to why pupils liked or did not like certain teachers indicated that affective, personal, and human factors provided the basis for differentiating between well-liked and disliked teachers. Witty analysed 12,000 letters from children and adolescents describing “the teacher who helped me most.”
All teacher personality attributes which tended to bolster the security and self-esteem of the pupils was valued highly. Praise and recognition, kindliness, fairness, sense of humour, interest in pupil’s problems, and similar qualities were prominent, and these attributes markedly affected the personality development of pupils.