Latent Function of Education: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Latent Influence of School
  • 0:24 Latent Functions of Education
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught Psychology and has a master's degree in Clinical Forensic Psychology, and will earn a PhD in 2015.

Children and teens learn more than math and English at school. You learn how to act, you meet new people, and there is a lot of behavioral information that you pick up by interacting with peers and adults. What are some of the more recognized ones?

The Latent Influence of School

There is more to school than education, posters encouraging you to learn math, and recess. We learn things at school that cannot be learned from a textbook or from someone explaining it to us. These are ideas and behaviors that influence you for life. You are sitting there right now, and you are being influenced!

Latent Functions of Education

Latent functions are unintentional and unrecognized outcomes to procedures a person participates in. Latent functions of education are unintentional and unrecognized outcomes that going to school, interacting with peers and adults, and following the rules ingrained into you without anyone really intending for it to happen. Let us explore some of the latent functions that researchers have come to recognize as originating in the educational system.

Off the Streets

School days typically last 6-8 hours, and when you have opportunities for after school sports and other activities this increases the time. This means for 6-10 hours, the majority of children and teens are in a handful of designated areas. Not having free reign means less opportunity to get into trouble or cause problems.


Many people meet future spouses and partners in high school or college. We learn how to court the desired sex during these times, making mistakes and learning from them so as not to make them again. 'High school sweethearts,' 'college sweetheart,' and more terms describe the function of finding and meeting a future spouse or partner. This was most likely not the intention of school founders and has been addressed by making some schools single-gender.

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