Sociology explores teaching and learning and the formal institutions in which they occur. These are complex social processes that include both instruction with explicit learning goals and informal socialization to “hidden curricula” through which social expectations, values, and norms are learned and impact the social development of individuals and groups.
Sociological research also examines the ways society shapes educational institutions and the teaching and learning process. It studies how educational policies are developed and affect individuals and communities. Education has impacts throughout the lifespan, and is connected to socioeconomic status and the development or alleviation of social inequality.