The idea of institutionalizing education once seemed like the best possible solution in order to teach an entire class concepts, theories and ideas that can help them reap their true potential. However, after some time, the actual process of learning or the idea behind it got lost behind the need to get high grades, school expectations, extracurricular activities and other demands that not many students can keep up with. Not only this, but the fact that education is so expensive is limiting learning and is oppressing a large group of people. Education does not have to come from schools or any other institute that is “ selling” it. Education can come from many different things, the only important aspect is that the child or person is willing to learn. However, not everyone learns the same way. How things were taught in the past is different from how they are now (Reigeluth). This is because people are dynamic and adaptive. Instead of following a guide or some rule written decades ago, people should strive to keep moving forward. Many people use outdated theories that might have worked for students in the 1700s, however these theories are definitely not going to work now. Educators should realize that all students are different and grading them according to one type of system is unfair. It should be established that every single person has their own unique style of learning, they also have different interests, if one area of expertise or subject does not spark their interest, learning is much more difficult. Instead of thinking that the child or student is less than capable of learning or that he or she is unwilling to learn, educators should know that not everyone is the same when it comes to taking in new information. Every person is unique and is capable of learning through different means. These days, with the help of technology, children learn at a different pace, using different mediums. The theories on education that were once used in the past might not be as effective right now, especially with the younger generations.
The work by Hephzibah Roskelly entitled “ The Cupped Hand And The Open Palm” spoke about how school systems use group activities in order to teach children how to read. This was done in what can be seen as a tiered system. The writer recalls this kind of grouping as a great experience, because as far as she knew, the group that she was put in was highly regarded for being the best at reading. However, one of her students recalled things differently. She claimed to have been in one of the “ slower” reading groups. She laughed at the memory, saying that her teacher at that time would wait for them to make mistakes, and then would easily reprimand them for it. A lot of schools are seen doing this, they adopt this type of thinking, and it can be good for some students, for many it is bad. The essay written by Roskelly (1993) explains that groupwork fails most of the time because there are a lot of flaws with it. There is always that one group member who takes over the entire project and believes that he or she knows everything that there is. There are also those members who are not interested in participating or don’t want to get their input because they feel shy or that they think their opinions don’t matter. This kind of learning experience can embarrass a child and stop them from wanting to learn. It’s not fair that a child has to conform to the school’s method of grading when the school itself cannot unleash the full potential of that particular child in the classroom. The ultimate goal in school should not be to get the highest grade or accomplish the most things in the school year, it should be to harness skill, talent and potential. Each student should not be limited by the grading system just because they are scared to fail or get lower marks than their classmates. This is limiting and it does not help most students learn. Just like what Roskelly (1993) says, there are a lot of students who fear starting something. This does not just work in terms of writing. This can apply to many subjects. Just because they feel that they will be graded according to standards that they do not agree with, they choose not to do anything at all, this means that the school automatically assumes that they are stupid or lazy. After which they are told that they are not ready to attend college or a higher form of learning, just because they cannot keep up with the standards set in high school (McAndrew 92).
The previous essay was very different from the speech delivered by Traci Gourdine, “ Seeing The Invisible”. She spoke about her years in school and how her father sent her to a Catholic School. At first, the speech seemed as if it was a typical story of how she felt, as a student, oppressed in such a strict and tight school with very stiff beliefs and procedures. However, the story lightened up when she spoke about a time in school when a nun had discovered her talent and love for written works. Gourdine (2005) explained how that particular instructor did not want to see her waste her talent and instead hone it and develop it. She spoke about other times including other people, giving different examples. The message of her story was still the same, it was seeing the invisible talent within students and helping them achieve their personal goals. Although not everyone will have the same love for words or reading, everyone has a talent that will save their lives. She spoke about how an instructor pushed her father, harder than most to learn about math and science. He struggled with calculus, but the instructor saw so much talent in him that she was convinced math will save his life and lead him to a better kind of living (Gourdine). It’s these types of educators that school systems need. The ones who will push students because of their talents are the ones who should be teaching and focusing on bringing out the best in students. Instead of grading students using one rigid system, instructors should be able to recognize talent and potential so that the students will learn how to focus on them. When students do realize the area that they are good at, they will be able to excel, and improve their lives. The goal of schools is to take out students’ true potential because everyone has a sense of genius inside of them.
In Freire’s (1970) work, he states that education involves communication between the student and the teacher. This is absolutely true, because as stated above, teachers are the ones who are responsible for helping students understand each lesson. This communication is displayed when the teacher disperses the information and the student receives it (Freire 99). The problem with this concept is that the questions not asked are questions not answered. Therefore, it is more of a one-way route where the teacher takes the lead and is seen as a superior in the classroom. If the teacher is not able to explain himself or herself in a way that all students can understand, learning is seen as unequal. Furthermore, the idea of communicating ideas and theories, and expecting students to memorize it, after which calling it “ learning” is quite absurd. Not all students are capable in retaining such information in a short amount of time. It is ridiculous that the information that is explained to the students has to be retained for ten or more weeks, so that a student can sit down and take an exam, almost wholly based on what he or she is capable of remembering. Instead of being real education, this type of learning is limited to memorization. It also limits the children and students from their full potential. This kind of education is limiting because it oppresses students and minimizes their creative power. They are limited to what their instructor is capable of teaching and are graded based on one person’s subjective standards. Not only that, it is also highly possible that what the instructor teaches the student is not received in the way that the instructor intends. Everyone understands and learns differently. Each person has their own pattern of communication, this is why a lot of people have misunderstandings or quarrels. This could also mean a gap in culture or other types of differences. If a teacher delivers a teaching and it is received by the student, but the message is lost somewhere in translation, after which the teacher hands out a test, where the student answers it in the way he or she understands, yet it isn’t quite what the teacher means, who is wrong? Of course, it is easy to say that the student didn’t listen properly or that he or she wasn’t paying attention. However, the fault can also be with the instructor, for not understanding the learning pattern of his students (Freire 101).
People are amazing beings who are able to create things out of nothing. If we weren’t we would still be living in caves, without technology. Our ability to adapt to certain situations is what makes us unique, this ability to change can also be applied to education. The theories that were once true may not be valid anymore (Reigeluth). A lot of things have changed throughout time, and we cannot keep teaching students in the same way our great grandparents once learned. Technology is available, and this should be utilized. Students learn in different ways, and each person has their own interest. Instead of trying to create like-minds and grading students with a stiff merit-based system that seems to only benefit a few, schools should strive to teach the individual how to flourish. Each student has the potential to be great, what is learned in school is only a small portion of what they will be in their later lives. Instructors have a very valuable role in bringing out each person’s true potential. It should not be done in the same cookie cutter kind of way, because this way is oppressive and limiting. Instructors should look for the students’ potential and hone their skills.
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Freire, Paulo. ” The banking concept of education.” 2004) Educational foundations: An anthology
of critical readings (1970): 99-111.
Gourdine, Traci. “ Seeing The Invisible”. Department of English, American River College. Fall
2005 Convocation Speech.
McAndrew, Donald. “ This Isn’t What We Did In High School”. The Subject Is Writing (1999):
Reigeluth, Charles M., ed. Instructional-design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of
Instructional Theory. Vol. 2. Routledge, 2013.
Roskelly, Hephzibah. ” The Cupped Hand and the Open Palm.” The Subject Is Writing (1993):