The purpose of education is to primarily train and prepare the individual to live in a changing society, fostering the development of their skills and abilities. It is in school where we acquire new academic knowledge that we can apply to our daily life, where it should become a meaningful and fruitful learning experience. Education is a complex process of acquiring the tools necessary for the full development of students. as a future teacher, it is my responsibility to provide the tools to help guide my future students learn and progress in their academic careers.
There are many different interpretations of the purpose of education. According to Labaree, there are 3 different goals of the American education system; social mobility, social efficiency, and democratic equality. Labaree says, “Democratic equality is the argument that a democratic society cannot persist unless he prepares all of its young with equal care to take on the full responsibilities of citizenship in a competent manner”(42). Democratic equality is a public good that prepares the student to be an effective citizen. “Social efficiency argues that our economic well-being depends on our ability to prepare the young to carry out useful economic roles with competence” (Labaree,42). Social efficiency is private training for the public benefit that prepares the student to be a worker. “The social mobility approach to schooling argues that education is a commodity, the only purpose of which is to provide individual students with a competitive advantage in the struggle for desirable social positions” (Labaree, 42).
Social mobility is a private good that prepares the student to become an individual. All three of these goals compete against each other. With my experiences from school, I do believe that the United States puts a lot of emphasis on social mobility compared to the other two goals. The U.
S. is a consumer- driven society that focuses on the more superficial things than meaningful. So where we fall on the social ladder, really does matter to most Americans. But in order to move up that ladder, you need to have a good education and a good job. School trains us to go into the workforce, so we can have a good position on that ladder. Whenever someone is asked ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’, people always answer with lawyer, doctor, teacher, or some other prestigious job, they don’t answer with ‘low-ranking’ jobs such as janitor, garbage collector, or waiter. While we are in school we are trained to become workers and by becoming a worker with a great job, we will hopefully move up the social ladder. This private goal is not what we should be striving for in the United States.
In school public goals/rights are what should be emphasized, not the private ones. In my opinion, these three goals should be ranked differently. Social efficiency should be at the top of the ladder and social mobility should be at the bottom.
I believe that social efficiency should be placed on the top of the ladder because it teaches the student to become a worker, a citizen, and eventually an individual. When a child goes to school your goal as a teacher is to open up a world of possibilities for them. By doing that you introduce them to new things and interests and with those newly developed interests, they will find a career out of that.
The world does not just function on ideas, you need people to get things done and that is where workers come in. So we should value the idea of creating effective workers that will help our economy and our society. Social mobility should not be placed at the top of the ladder because it is not something that will benefit our society, it will only benefit the individual. In order for an effective society, the rankings of your class should be the last thing you think about.
You should be thinking about how you will contribute to society before thinking about your rank on the social scale. There are many different philosophies about the purpose of education. The ones that stuck out the most to me are constructivism, existentialism, and essentialism.
Constructivism and existentialism are based on student- centered learning whereas essentialism is teacher centered. According to the textbook, “essentialism is an educational philosophy that holds that there is a common core of information and skills that an educated person must have” (Johnson, 105). I do believe that every student should have the same foundation of the basics of the that make up education. There are some core elements that the students should be able to take from school and into the world. The basics that should be taught in schools are literature, history, foreign languages, math, and natural sciences. By having a basic understanding of these subjects, students will be able to have a fundamental understanding. I do agree with goals of essentialism to an extent.
Yes, I do believe that students should have a common core of information and skills, but that is about it. I think they should go into more depth and uncover the underlying principles that may lie underneath those basic skills and turn them into something more complex. “Existentialism is a school of philosophy that focuses on the importance of the individual rather than on external standards” ( Johnson, 90). Existentialists want to create opportunities for self-direction and personal choice. Teachers help the students become what they want to become.
It is when the students are in charge of themselves and how they want to find the meaning of their own lives. As opposed to a teacher just telling it to them, they go out and figure it out themselves. Existentialism has an influence on the Montessori schools. “Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.
In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process( “What is Montessori Education?”). Montessori schools are tailored to the child’s needs and wants by allowing the students to venture out. I do like this idea of the student being in charge of themselves and the way they learn but I feel as though with too much self- direction they may get lost. You know that time is very limited in the classroom, so you must create your own little world and hope that your students will take what they learn into their world. “Constructivism is an educational philosophy that emphasizes hands-on, activity-based teaching and learning during which students develop their own frames of thought” ( Johnson, 115). Constructivism is all about critical thinking and how a student would approach and solve problems.
By focusing on the big ideas and learning how to problem solve, students will be able to take control of their own learning. When words are used in the right way they can transform a person’s life, but unfortunately, that has started to decline. More and more teachers are suffering from “narration sickness”. All teachers do is fill students up with empty information and are teaching students to memorize. On page 5, Freire says, ” Education thus has become the act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teachers are the depositors.
” This is very true in today’s society. Since there is so much testing that is taking place, teachers are teaching their students to memorize information so they can move onto the next topic quicker and have more time to prepare for a pointless test. Which is something that I do not believe in because our students deserve better than just memorization and lectures. Hands- on student centered learning is what will help the student learn and absorb the information better. Freire says there are two different styles of educating; the banking concept and the libertarian education. The banking concept is when someone who has been “gifted” with education goes out of their way to help people who they consider as uneducated. So teacher’s are the ones gifted with education and the students are the ones they are teaching. The libertarian education is when the teacher and the student are learning from each other.
The banking education will keep people oppressed and the libertarian education will liberate people. It should not be this way. Teachers and students are constantly teaching each other something new and the role of the student and the teacher are always changing between the two.
In conclusion, education should be guided by the teacher but not too much. Students should find themselves and their interests, but with the help and instruction of the teacher. There may be many different goals and interpretations of education, but in the end it is to help the student become an effective citizen and worker to society. Teachers should be able to inform incoming students of the past and prepare them for the future.
Since the time spent with students is so limited, teachers should make it worthwhile and make the biggest impact that they can on the student.