In the past, attaining education was only considered for the privileged class, and I realized this only after having children of my own. I came to know of the importance of education and how I had to change myself in order to impart knowledge to my following generation. I learnt that I had to upgrade myself, and become the best educator for my children, for them to acquire the best education.
Education is basically the process of teaching and learning something, be it skills, or anything in theory. Theory and practical go side by side and it is us who have to incorporate these two in our daily lives, to make full use of the knowledge we are gaining, and to upgrade our lifestyles.
I strongly believe that education is an ongoing process, of gaining knowledge intellectually, morally and socially. Even without realization, a person learns something new everyday, through the activities he goes through, whether in school, or at home.
There have been numerous theories of education, and great philosophers have also come up with their viewpoints regarding educating the young in the best possible ways. Strategies have always been developed, to bring out the most of the child while he is at school, so that his mental development takes place under the correct guidance and supervision of the instructors, which is much needed.
Amongst all the theories put forward by these educationists, are a few, who have specifically influenced my viewpoints, and have made me come up with this theory of mine, which relates to constructivism. The purpose of education is to construct meanings of their own, and not just memorize what the teacher tells the students to, without even being clear of the meaning of the matter.
The relationship between the student and teacher is the primary factor in educating a child, because the child spends most time with the teacher, and is being monitored by him the whole time, thus whatever right or wrong he does, is influenced by the interaction with the instructor. Such was said by Bandura too, that the teacher should serve as the role model for the child, as he spends most time with him, under his constant supervision (“Continuing Ed”, 2007”). I strongly believe in this fact, as when the child is at school, his teacher is his ideal, and very articulately tells him of right from wrong, etc. soon the child starts idealizing the teacher, and at times children tend to mention it also, that they wish to become like the specific teacher of his or her preference.
The teacher is to play the role of the parents at school, as well as carry out his own role of supervising and instructing. He has double responsibility on his shoulders, and has to face this challenge with great care, to meet the demands of the parents, and not give them a chance of any complaints, whatsoever. To produce the best in a child, came about the system of education put forth by the famous Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was the initiator of the Montessori system of schooling for young children, basically beginners. She came up with the idea that children should be taught things which are closely associated with nature, and this is a very significant factor in the upbringing of the young (Flaherty, T.). She taught the teachers how to teach the children, and this is what I believe in, that the teachers should be trained, or should at least know how to teach. They should explore the behaviours of the children, and then teach accordingly, and not just follow a set curriculum and spend the whole year in the classroom, without any constructive outcome.
The efforts of the teachers are strongly displayed in the personalities of the children, and what they develop into. The kinds of behaviours they adopt in life, and the different approaches they have towards life at some stage, are influenced greatly by what their teachers had taught them. In my opinion, everything that a child learns tends to be incorporated into his personality.
The teacher should impart knowledge to the child in a way that can be easily absorbed, and enjoyably understood by the child, rather than him just memorizing all the facts that are being told. Howard Gardner, who came up with his theory of multiple intelligences, proposed this idea too, which is very important for the teaching process. The curriculum and method of teaching is to be made as interesting as possible for the child, so that he does not feel compelled to store certain facts in his mind, but should incorporate it into his system in a good, positive way, which would prove beneficial to him.
Students tend to gain more knowledge if the teachers cheer them up, and participate in the activities given to them. They feel good that the teachers are also involved in whatever they are doing, and feel pride in those activities (“Continuing Ed”, 2007).
It is essential for the teachers to know how the students are learning in class, and effective communication between the two will enable a sense of belonging for the students, and result in feelings of achievement in the long run (Bandura, 1986: She & Fisher, 2002).
The constructivist view of teaching, if incorporated into the methods of teaching, will prove beneficial for the child, as I believe that each student possesses different qualities, which will have some effect of its own in the classroom. The teacher should appreciate and accept these diversities, from the huge number of students they have seated in front of them, and encourage each child to bring out the best of his abilities through his beliefs, as individual students, and as a part of the rest of the class.
The cognitive theory which deals with the interactions of the students and teachers, the behaviourist theory, and the constructivist theories, are all to be included in the classroom to get best outcomes from students. It is not possible to come up with the desired results if any of these three theories are missing from the classroom, while the teaching process is taking place. They are all of equal importance while training the children, and should be exercised by all educational institutes.
The memorizing of the books and reading matter available to the children, is not at all constructive for the child. He just fills the exam papers by what he has learnt by heart, and does not manage to get ‘educated’, which is the main purpose of schooling. Since I believe that knowledge is nothing without application, I feel that it is essential for the students to be dwelled into an atmosphere which would provide them the opportunity to know what they are doing, and actually apply such practices in their daily lives. That is the advantage of education, it provides a better lifestyle, by practicing better habits in daily living. Otherwise there would be no difference between the lives of the literate and illiterate, and the standards of living of all and sundry would be the same.
The educated should be well distinguishable from the uneducated, by their activities and practices. America has a diverse student population, and the way the teachers train and educate these children, will also influence the inter relations of these students. The teachers and students share a special bond, which is to be maintained by both sides. In the past years, students did not have such friendly relations with their supervisors, but times have now allowed them to be frank and this has in turn created a positive change in the students. They are more eager to learn, as the teacher is more ‘approachable’ now.
The educational policies to be adopted by the institutions should just be the kind where students and teachers are not differed due to the superiority of the teacher, but, the environment of the classroom should be one in which there is classroom control, at the same time, there is ample scope for learning. The students should not have fear of entering the class but should be excited about going to school to gain knowledge. All this is in the hands of the teacher mostly, as it depends on how he or she has created the right atmosphere for the child.
It is important for the teacher to know the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards, in order to achieve the goals he will set for the class, while making the curriculum. Each state has its own set standards for education, and he should learn the policies that he is to follow, for the imparting of knowledge to the students.
The challenges of the teacher are many, and he shoulders the responsibility of actually being part of the development of the future personalities of the nation. Thus the best strategies acquired for the teaching process will produce the best personalities of tomorrow.
Continuing ED (2007). Web.
Educational Theorists & Theories (2008). Danville Community College. Whittington W. Clement Library. Web.
Flaherty, T. Maria Montessori. Women’s Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society. 2008. Web.
Smith, Mark K. (2002). Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences and Education. The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. 2008. Web.
TIP: Theories. Social Learning Theory (A. Bandura). (2008). Web.