Social norms are the rules of behavior of society. Every society has rules of behaviour as part of their learned behavior which are the acceptable patterns of behaviuor. These social norms contain both prescriptions and proscriptions. Prescriptions are definitions of the acceptable acts while proscriptions are definitions of acts that are unacceptable known as taboos. All members of the society are required to conform to the norms. Deviation from the norms is frowned at and punishment is matted out. Conformity is nourished and rewarded. This is the control aspect of Woodard’s classification of cultural content. The control aspects of culture control the behaviour of group members. They include folkways, sanctions, mores, laws, rituals, rites of passage etc. Throughout life-time, the deterrent negative sanctions of society such as scorn, ridicule, ostracism, deprivation, punishment, etc. serve to discourage and check deviation from the norm. On the other hand positive sanctions of approbation such as rewards and prestige serve to induce conformity to the norms.

                Social norms are the behaviours and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as “the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. These rules may be explicit; failure to follow the rules can result in severe punishments, including exclusion from the group“. They have also been described as the “customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others”.

The social norms indicate the established and approved ways of doing things, of dress, of speech and of appearance. These vary and evolve not only through time but also vary from one age group to another and between social groups. What is deemed to be acceptable dress, speech or behavior in one social group may not be accepted in another.


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                The aspect of culture which the society considers important for its members are known as values. Cultural values may be material or non-material. Not all cultural elements are valued equally by all members or individuals for example yam is more highly valued in Igbo land than maize or millet. On the other hand maize and millet are more highly valued than yam among the Fulani ethnic group. In the words of Hess et al (1988) values are the central beliefs of a culture that provides a standard by which norms are judged. The burial of the death is highly valued in Igbo land hence burial ceremony attracts significant attention in that part of the country. The Same can be said of the Yoruba ethnic group.

                Values are those things that really matter to each of us the ideas and beliefs we hold as special, caring for others, for example, is a value; so is the freedom to express our opinions. Most of us learned our values or morals, if you prefer at home, at church or synagogue, at school. Your values are those elements of your life which you find personally important. They are core beliefs which guide you on how to conduct your life in a way that is meaningful and satisfying for you.

Values are the things against which you measure your choices, whether consciously or not you use them to rationalize your behavior to yourself and others. And they determine your level of satisfaction with your choices, even if decisions are not freely made but constrained by other factors.

                Values can help one to find a role in society, and they are often a strong motivator for work. You may share some of the value of the people around you (your friends or family, or your social, ethnic or national group, for example and you may have other values which are particular to you. Values can be related to your personality (e.g a desire to work with or manage others), to your  needs (e.g hunger, shelter, security) and to your own understanding of your social context (e.g environmentalism or political values).

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From the above explanation, the following are the differences between norms and values:

(1) Norms are traditions, customs and manners that guide human behavior. While values are standard by which our culture defines what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, beautiful or ugly.

(2) Values are typically a collected data amount for something. With this in mind, a norm is different because it is actually the collection and evaluation of values and represented as a trend.

(3) Norms: Standards of behavior that are typical or accepted within a particular group or society.

      Values: Beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life.

(4) Norms are socially approved ways of behaving that are considered normal.

(5) Norms vary and evolve through time and also between individuals of a group or society, and usually evolve informally, not written as law, but still governing the group behavior often more so than formal rules and regulations.

(6) Norms are culturally established rules of behavior, or the “unwritten rules”.

(7) Values are what we judge to be right. They are the moral, ethical and professional attributes of character.

(8) Values can be defined as those things that are important to someone whether it’s an individual or an organization or population. Our values are an embodiment of what we stand for, and are the basis of our behavior.

(9) Values can be loyalty, duty, patriotism, integrity, selfless service, competence, courage etc.

(10) One important value for organizations is vision.

What part does it play in the school life of secondary school students in Ebonyi state?

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Norms and values play an important part in the school life of secondary school students in Ebonyi state.

When school seek to improve, a focus on the values, beliefs, and norms of individual and secondary school students (though the effect of classroom and students variables remain out in schools on a regular basis.

It may be based on patterns of student, parent, and school within the school and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal. A school culture is largely determined by the value shared. It is also based on the pattern of people’s experiences of school life. It reflects the norms, goals, values, interpersonal, schools and the need for preparing students to address the issue. Furthermore, such practices play a critical role in the graduation.

                Secondary school life have developed into something akin to cultural icons as the “corridor curriculum” can play a significant role in determining the culture, he stated that. A school culture is a complex pattern of norms, attitudes, beliefs, values etc.

It also plays large role in the school climate refers to the quality and character of school life climate include norms, values and expectations that support people.

“Every school is both an expression of a political situation and a teacher of politics” of hidden curriculum inculcation of values political socialization. It plays a major part in the development of students and their fates is tracking.

                School care about their have high expectations for their education and will provide student who feel socially connected to others, in schools that hold them to high academic standards. Conform to and adopt established norms and values.

                It is only through partnerships can our schools keep improving and stay on the right matches the norms, values and cultural assumptions reflected in the school. In a school as a whole, trust skill plays an important role in student achievement.


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