THE SCHOOL AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM
“No man is an island” said John Donne a seventeenth century poet and clergyman. Sociologists say the same thing when they say . that each person is a part of a social system; The school does not consist only of administrators, .teachers, and students whose individual traits are silpada together. Rather, the school is a social system in }-Which An established series of relationships determines what happens. Particular traits of individuals are less important than patterns of interaction. Whether the principal is jolly or sober, good looking or ugly, intelligent or mediocre, a principal is stiJI a principal and must act as principals are expected to act. The same is true of teachers, students, janitors, secretaries, and everyone else involved, regardless of their personal characteristics. Personal traits of individuals affect their ability to play roles in the system but do not determine the roles themselves. We learn little about the school by studying the personalities of individuals but a great deal by studying the expectations which people in different roles have toward, one another.