In scholarship pertaining to childhood education one could pick out all sorts of logical fallacies being applied. Some of it is oversight or poor understanding on the part of the author, while the others are deliberate constructed so as to mislead or misinform the reader. American educators have claimed that the steady improvement in SAT scores is an indication of improved literacy and numeracy skills of students. This is a ‘hasty generalization’, for upon critical review the real reason is revealed, namely the decrease in rigor of standardized tests. In childhood education literature we also witness ‘non sequitors’, which is an attempt to create a cause and effect relationship where none exists. For example, the claim that, since enrolments to schools have increased over time the overall standards must have also gotten better is a non-sequitor. Empirical studies show no correlation between these two parameters. ‘Faulty Analogy’ is comparing apples with oranges. To say . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
The relevance of the book by Aseltine et al cannot be overstated. With respect to the state of education in the United States, the book takes a comprehensive survey of the education system. By doing so, it identifies the inherent weaknesses of the system, while also suggesting robust corrective measures. At the heart of the training philosophy promoted by the book, is recognition of the role of teachers in molding students, but also in the reputation of the school as a whole. In the process of reading the book I had noted down my impressions, reactions, criticisms and an overall evaluation of the work. These have synthesized into my thesis statement. Giving due acknowledgement for the positive facets of the book, including its numerous insights and action plans for teacher and school improvement, I will however argue that as a result of its limited focus the book fails to recognize and address larger systemic factors that have undermined the education system.
One of the . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
The three scholarly articles on the relationship between educational institutions and students are very insightful. The centre of their attention is the influence of student’s economic class on the quality and content of education received. But more importantly, class continues to influence and determine the quality and nature of an individual’s life beyond and after schooling years. In other words, the three authors posit in three different ways that economic class that an American is born into predetermines their course of life. The rest of this essay will flesh out this thesis.
The essay titled The Educated Global Citizen or Student Global Consumer? raises several important questions about the culture of education that has come to be accepted. Far from the ideal notions of education that the founding fathers of the nation envisioned, what we have today is the corporate takeover of schools and academies. The concept of advertising and sponsored programs have become so . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Both Paulo Freire and William Brickman stand as giants in the field of education. However, their views and concerns hardly ever converged. While Freire’s basic focus was the relation between education and socio-economy, Brickman’s scholarship was on comparative education at the international level. It is fair to say that these two areas are worlds apart. Yet, the work of both thinkers is integral to modern thought on education. Their theories and views continue to influence contemporary education professionals.
One of the major focus areas of Freire’s work was the role of education in maintaining the existing social order. In other words, he sought to answer the question of how the oppressed in society continues to remain so? If the purpose of education is to enlighten, and in consequence, liberate the individual, then why are human relationships ripe with domination of one party over the other? It is a fair question and the answer lies in the way content, structure and . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Summary and Reaction to Chapter 3 (The Slow Hunch) of Steven Johnson’s book ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’
The main argument in the chapter is that great innovations are due to accumulative processes rather than spontaneous ‘eureka’ moments. Almost in any major technological or scientific innovation of modern times, the break-through was made possible by the robust base built by accrued prior knowledge.
A key idea put forward by Steven Johnson is that of ‘convergence’. This is the process of the gradual accumulation of information, concepts and their interrelationships that are precursors to the occurrence of ‘insight’. Although the decision to synthesize and analyze them is that of an individual, the fundamental facts and concepts can be fetched from a disparate range of sources. To this extent, though great innovations are not one-off events of brilliance, they are the result of ‘collective intelligence’. Collective . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Much of the knowledge which the world had at one time has been lost to us now. Natural disasters, wars, fires, have destroyed books and the knowledge in them. We know they existed once, but they no longer exist now.Suppose you could protect and save ONE of the things we’ve read this semester so people of future generations could read it and think about it, which one would it be and why?
There are several contenders for the title of the most valuable book lost to humanity. Homer’s Margites is a strong candidate due to its philosophical richness. Likewise, the Lost Books of the Bible leaves Christians wondering at possibilities. Jane Austen’s Sanditon would have enhanced the author’s already formidable reputation. But from several such worthy contenders, my choice for the most valuable book would be William Shakespeare’s Cardenio. If I am endowed with the power to save the book through . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
William Shakespeare and JS Bach are perhaps the two most important cultural figures in Western Civilization. This high pedestal that they occupy makes questions over their authorship almost blasphemous for their admirers. If Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor has come for scholarly debate in recent years, the question marks over Shakespeare’s authorship were raised four centuries earlier and cover a substantial part of his work. The Anti-Stratfordians (as those sceptical of Shakespeare’s authorship are called) prefer to attribute his works to one among the following contenders: Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Edward Dyer, the earl of Derby or especially Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford. In this backdrop, the challenge facing both the faithful and the doubters is the scarce historical record to either support or disprove their claims. If the late Baroque obscurity surrounding Bach’s primary documents lead to no definite conclusions, it is even more . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Education is very important for social progress. Whether our civilization will flourish or not is dependent on the quality of education we offer children. As it stands, the education system today has a few obvious flaws. The foremost is the emphasis on competition and grades, which turns students into machines that cram up data before an examination. But such a method is unlikely to produce original and critical thinkers for the future. So, in order to have a bright future for education as well as for society a revision in education methods, curriculum and goals is called for.
One of the ways in which to secure the future of education is to embrace bold and experimental systems of education. The Pragmatist education model that was inspired by philosopher John Dewey is a case in point. In this system there are no grades for individual performance. What matters is creativity, community participation and collective problem-solving. The curriculum is also not . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Students are encouraged to think critically and creatively. Teachers, instead of spoon-feeding all concepts and course content, give a fair degree of liberty for students to find their own individualized style of learning. They prompt students to find equilibrium in the interaction between the organism and the environment. There is a focus on student experience and taking social action for solving real problems.
Realism: Synthesis & Response
Realism is a relevant philosophy of schooling even today. The prevalent system of education does not mould students into well-rounded and socially-conscious individuals. The emphasis is too much on grades and individual excellence. Being part of the current education system I can clearly see what Realism offers. Under this system of education student co-operation is given more importance compared to student competition. This is not the case in the current system where . . . Read MoreContinue Reading
Social Reconstruction: Summary
This system treats education as an instrument for addressing social problems. Education is seen as the means to creating a harmonious social order. It adopts an open ended syllabi intended to meet practical problems with socially conscious solutions. Progressive education is embraced as against conservative models. Some of the leading thinkers include Theodore Brameld, George Counts and Paulo Freire. One of the core beliefs of its pioneers is that systems must be changed to overcome social and individual oppression. The system encourages students to find creative solutions for problems such as violence, hunger, economic inflation, terrorism, etc. There is a strong belief in literacy as a vehicle for social change.
Social Reconstruction: Synthesis & Response
It should be lauded that social reconstruction attempts to create constructive dialogue and . . . Read MoreContinue Reading