PROBLEMS IN EDUCATION
(From Encyclopedia Britannica)
a,- Plato believed society should be stable and hierarchical; those most adept would rule, others would become warriors and carry out the orders of the rulers, and those least adept would fill the lowliest functions.
b.- Education would be orderly and segregated. It would select, classify, segregate and reject students at various stages of the educational process.
c.- As a consequence. most schools today go through a process of selection and rejection, with great effort expanded on testing, measuring, classifying and segregating students.
d.- Greatest prestige is accorded to the study of ideas and abstractions, and lower prestige is accorded to practical studies and manual work.
e.-Liberal arts are considered suitable educational fare for potential leaders
Vocational studies are considered suitable for followers.
f.- What a society may need most is people with technological, practical and manual skills, not liberal arts.
2.- St. Thomas Aquinas
a.- In the 13th Century, Aquinas tried to synthesize reason and faith, philosophy and theology, university and monastery, activity and contemplation.
b.- The educated man that emerged from this process was the Scholastic, a man whose rational intelligence had been vigorously disciplined for the pursuit of moral excellence.
c.- For Aquinas, the primary agent of education is the learner, a person capable of self-education. Intellectually autonomous, he/she is able to conduct his own process of research and discovery.
3.- John Locke
a.- Locke formulated the classic defense of individual freedom against the authorities of church and state.
b.- Locke was opposed to both the stagnation of unreflective tradition and the perils of enthusiastic radicalism.
c.- The model of the aristocratic gentleman had been the model for education in British society, and Locke formulated it for the rising bourgeoisie.
d.- Under Locke’s influence, the aristocratic model became infused with democratic, Puritan and practical characteristics.
e.- Locke believed that the mind at birth was a tabula rasa to be filled with knowledge.
f.- His four aims in education were; virtue, wisdom, breeding and learning.
Learning was to be lightly worn.
g.- Locke’s Puritan individualism had great effect on American education
h.- Locke failed to recognize the uses of institutional power and legislation for interventions that would enhance rather than restrict freedom.
4.- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
a.- Rousseau was reacting to rationalism in education with his spontaneity and naturalism.
b.- The educated person is the natural man or woman, opposed to rationalism, complexity and objectivity.
c.- The child should be protected from the corruptions of civilization
d.- The child’s intellectual powers should develop without distortion. Feelings should precede thinking, and the child should be controlled only by things, not adult’s wills.
e.- Constantly in tension with demands of reasoning, discipline, authority and scholarship, progressive education reminds us the our ultimate concern is with the child.
5.- Karl Marx
a.- Marx was concerned with curing the alienation and dehumanization of man caused by capitalist exploitation.
b.- The material dimension of history is primary.
c.- Economic production is the basis of life and ideas (religious, educational, political, artistic), which are determined by the economic structure.
d.- The dominant ideas in a society are those of the ruling class, those who control the means of production.
e.- To find the hidden agenda behind an idea, one must examine its social function, not its intellectual content. What class interests are being addressed?
f.- After a proletarian revolution the opposition between the individual and the collective will tend to disappear., with the interest of each dovetailing with the interest of all, and alienation will tend to disappear altogether.
g.- What is needed is a genuine community, a drawing together of autonomous and socially responsible persons.
h.- The educated person is not the irresponsible individualist nor the coerced collectivist, but the accountable communal person, who has attained freedom not by fleeing social relationships, but through them.
i.- Individual freedom requires social authority. Dialectically, there is a need for state intervention to remove gross inequalities and expand opportunities, and ultimately human regeneration is a task for each individual.
a.- Pragmatism was created by immigration, urbanization and industrialization. Its proponents are Peirce, James and Dewey.
b.- Pragmatism is the dominant American philosophy. It sees men and women as formed through the interaction with their natural and social environment. Neither the individual nor society has any meaning without the other.
c.- The educated person is reflective, critical of authority and tradition,. and someone who prefers science and organized intelligence to solve problems.
d.- A child’s interest should neither be repressed nor humored . A child’s bent should not be ignored, nor should the power underlying the passing whim.
e.- Subject matter should enable the child to reflect upon his social experiences.
f.- Subject matter that precedes or is unrelated to a child’s experiences is largely meaningless. It can only be meaningful through the continued reflection upon, and reconstruction of, experience.
a.- Skinner rejects the conventional model that man is a free agent who acts in accordance with the decisions of his inner self.
b.- Skinner believes education can create a planned person, one who will be conditioned to behave in the way best calculated to achieve society’s goals.
c.- Behavioral engineering can remove all antisocial tendencies, and a person will want only what is good for the self and society.
d.- Skinner’s ideas have led to the invention of programmed instruction (teaching machines) and to the emphasis on behavior in schools.
e.- Scientific control will bring about a society in which it will be easy to be good and excellent.
a.- Buber’s model of an educated person is one whose life is shaped by existential decision making, which cannot be determined in advance of the situation.
b.- Principles and traditions are not infallible guides.
c.- Each person is seen as unique.
d.- Dialogue is central to Buber’s educational philosophy. The educated person is one who can listen as well as talk. Genuine dialogue depends on authenticity, on being rather than seeming. This takes courage and responsibility.
e.- There is a continuity between learning and life, rather than knowledge for its own sake. Learning must be related to consequent action. Cognitive faculties may be trained, but the spirit must be infused by what has been learned.
9.- What is knowledge?
a.- Is it accumulation of information, of knowing something is true or false, of knowing how to reproduce information on a test?
b.- Is it the process of thinking, of knowing how to learn and discover things, of focusing on process, on skills and attitudes?
10.- How should knowledge be communicated?
a.- An apprentice watches and imitates the master, fails, tries again, until he/she knows what the master knows. We learn role identity, what it means to be husband or wife, father or mother this way. It is a traditional method, not effective for stimulating growth and new knowledge.
. b.- One who knows (the teacher) tells one who doesn’t (the student). The student listens tries
to remember, and is required to produce his memorization in testing. Not a very effective way to communicate knowledge.
c.- A student can watch film or videotape, or read a book.
d.- One method that does not imply superiority-inferiority is dialogue All may be at different moments teachers and learners. This method assumes that all have knowledge to give and all need to learn.
11.- What is education for?
a.- Education should serve the needs of the individual.
b.- Education should serve the needs of society.
c.- Under capitalism, both these goals are held, but for different segments of the population.
d.- Upper-class schooling the needs of the individual are met, and diversity and idiosyncracy are tolerated.
e.- The masses are taught to become obedient, well-drilled, uncomplaining workers in industry and agriculture.
f.- In France and Germany education is seen as intellectual development.
g.- In England education is seen as building character.
h.- In Communist countries, moral training is the primary purpose of education.
i.- In Roman Catholic countries, religious training is important.
j.- In the United States, where large scale immigration from Europe brought the fear of social disintegration, education is a preparation for citizenship and national consciousness. The U.S. is the only country that pledges allegiance in school.
12.-Differential vs uniform groupings
a.- Should similar students be clustered together for instruction or should the classroom be made deliberately diverse?
b.- Students can be grouped by chronological age; mental age, IQ, skin color, sex, social class, geographical location, parental income, performance ability on tests, etc.
c.- Skin color is used in the U.S. and South Africa, parental income is overtly used in private schools and voucher schools, (covertly in public schools located in expensive neighborhoods)
d.- Some criteria separate rich from poor or elites from minorities because of the cultural bias of the tests used.
e.- Homogenous groups are more efficient in instruction and learning.
f.- Heterogenous groupings have better social outcomes, enhanced understanding of others and a tolerance for diversity.
13.- Control and discipline
a.- When education is seen as between a teacher (superior) and a student (inferior) questions of control arise.
b.- Those who believe people are basically untrustworthy will favor strict control, to prevent the students’ natural impulses from harming themselves or others.
c.- Those who see people as basically trustworthy will justify a more lenient attitude.
d.- Both agree that a student should develop self-discipline.
e.- Does self discipline develop through practice in obeying orders or practice in commanding oneself?
14.- Competition and collaboration
a.- Is the competitive spirit innate or is it acquired through culture?
b.- The question is should competition be encouraged or reduced. Some argue that since competition is endemic in the culture and the student needs to assimilate into the culture, the school should encourage competition and help to develop the necessary strengths to compete.
c.- Others argue that competition is pernicious and schools should not encourage harmful aspects of the culture, but work toward cultural progress.
d.- As a result, students often struggle to compete without appearing to do so.
15.- What are the boundaries of formal education?
a.- Some subjects are considered taboo, such as religious teaching in public schools, sex education, Communism, and sensitivity training.
b.- The argument is that children are not well equipped to resist heavy bias,
They’re compelled by law to attend and constitute a captive audience.
c.- The counter argument is that such censorship is used to keep all controversy out of schools and render them places of deadly uniformity and dullness.
From Michael Apple
a.- Education in the United States is reactionary. This is caused by neoliberalism. , which tries to turn teachers and students into objects of consumption.
b.- There are scarce resources, there is overcrowding, lowered standards, emphasis in student capacity to increase production in the interest of private capital
c.- Education in the U.S. doesn’t try to reduce unemployment or wipe out poverty. It constitutes an attack on egalitarian values, it is against cultural and political democracy.
d.- The political right has been successful in furthering its agenda in
education. It has united different tendencies around welfare, culture, the economy and social and political issues.
e.- The right is made up of neoliberals, neoconservatives, authoritarian populists, and parts of the new middle class. It wants to privatize institutions and have a weak government, except in the army and the police. .
f.- The right sees students as human capital needed to turn out profits. Any other purpose is viewed with suspicion. It will gladly invest in education, but only to satisfy the requirements of capital.
g.- The schools are one of the main forums where questions of resources, power, political ideology, curricula, pedagogy, testing and financing are decided.
h.- What needs to be done is to combine academic principles with knowledge of production. For example, schools should teach physics, mathematics and architecture in order to build housing for low income families. Education should be an arena of struggle and compromise, because here is decided what institutions should do and whom they are to serve.
i.- The Right in education must be fought. The Right must be made to compromise or it will have to call out the police into the streets.
j.- Dropping out is a form of resistance. Young people know that even if they make an effort, most will not find jobs, or only something inferior to their abilities. Education results in low-qualifies jobs and low salaries.
k.- The antidote to Right-wing education is information and critical analysis.
a.- The primary mission of schools should be to teach students how to read literature, write persuasively, solve tough mathematical problems, understand an appreciate history, and apply scientific principles in their everyday lives.
18.- Critical thinking
1.- Critical thinking involves
a,-Creative problem solving
2.- Critical thinking can best be used in analyzing
3.-People are thinking critically when they
a.- Identify and challenge the assumptions underlying their own and on others beliefs and behavior
b.- Explore and imagine alternatives to current ways of thinking and living
4.- Philosophers, physicists, psychologists and scientists in general are trained to question basic assumptions.
5.-Critical thinking unearths assumptions and builds new insights
6.-Critical thinking becomes aware of alternatives
7.-Critical thinkers don’t accept automatically a particular idea or solution without examining the alternatives, making a choice, and accepting the consequences
8.-The critical thinking process starts with
a.- A triggering event that causes inner discomfort
b.- Exploration of ways of reducing the discomfort
c.- Developing and alternative
d.- Integration the new ideas into the situation
e.- Use of the scientific method in problem solving:
Types of methods; axiomatic, empirical, hypothetico-deductive, simulation,, classification, experimentation, hypothesis, measurement, observation, laws and theories, explanations.
9.-Critical examination involves;
Critical questioning that scrutinizes the basis for thinking and acting.
Critical incident exercises milestones that are meaningful and finding out why.
10.-Critical analysis discovers the unspoken assumptions of right wrong good bad
a.- Reject standard formats for problem solving (don’t parrot the official line)
b.- Cultivate a multifaceted interest
c.- Take multiple perspectives
d.- View as relative and contextual
e.- Use trial and error
f.- Embrace change
g.- Build self confidence
h.-Make decisions by brainstorming- generate free flow of ideas with no evaluation or criticism allowed
i.-Encourage individuals to propose outrageous solutions
j.-Invent the future by asking
Who am I?
What do I want to do?
How can I do it?
What are the grounds for having others join me?
11.-When you can answers these questions you are ready to challenge the status quo..
19.- THE CRISIS IN US EDUCATION TODAY
(after Tim Wheeler)
1.- Public education is a need and a right. Without it a modern society cannot survive. It offers young people an opportunity to meet, discuss, plan and receive information/education for their future. There are proposals to eliminate it altogether by means of privatization, vouchers and charter schools. Promoting an end to "big government" by cutting welfare, health care, food stamps and all-people programs really means rule by the rich without regard for the majority.
2.- Attacks on education come after the ground has been prepared by corporate "downsizing," plant shutdowns, attempts to stop the raise on the minimum wage, and to outlaw unions . Young people are blamed through racist stereotyping of blacks and browns, and for the drug epidemic and gun violence. Teenage girls are blamed for their pregnancies, when it is a fact that the fathers are mostly older men, who are never mentioned. The attempt to pit youth and families against unions and teachers is a divide and conquer tactic. First public schools are denied a minimum program, repair facilities and smaller classes, then they are blamed for not doing their job, while schools for the rich have the best of everything.
THE SOLUTION :
3.- Full funding for public education to reduce class size, repair and rebuild schools, programs that expand horizons and inspire students in the arts and sciences as well as sharpen their skills in the basics of reading and writing up-to-date materials including computers and the Internet. Promotion of bi-lingual education and multi cultural curricula. An end to racial discrimination and segregation. Students have been isolated and the schools promote racism thereby. An end to the anti-human legislation that pretends that immigrants are not people or do not have children that deserve an education. The struggle for teacher's unions and decent contacts and working conditions must continue.
4.- Parents, school workers, students and elected officials must speak out and defend public education in the praise in conferences, letters to the editor and visits to legislator's offices . Cut class size to 15. Hire teachers and support personnel, using affirmative action guidelines. Provide publicly funded quality all-day early childhood programs. Instead of taxing local property, tax the rich and the corporations to pay for public education. Reappropriate military expenditures into the Department of Education. Impose a moratorium on interest payments on the national debt. Appropriate 250 billion dollars to build and repair schools create jobs and give the youth a hope for the future.
5.- Schools should be based in the community, and staffed by community people, from cafeteria workers, cooks and suppliers to teachers and administrators.