What is the purpose of education?
The purpose of education has evolved over time and in the contexts of many cultures. From oral tradition to online schooling, education has developed through the need to educate children in new ways as technology and information sharing progress. The purpose of education throughout history has essentially been for the survival of individuals within the constructs of society. Distinct societies have emphasized different methods of education in order to communicate their values to the next generation. Education systems have historically been used to create thinkers, preachers, soldiers, and workers. Currently, the central purpose of education has not changed; education is a means of survival. The majority of the people without a high school diploma or equivalent levels of education around the world do not have the same standards of living as the educated. This level of dichotomy has become an ingrained psychological barrier that creates socioeconomic class systems that continues to degrade the poor and elevate the rich. As a result, human dignity is sacrificed for the advancement of the few elite.
The purpose of education, then, is not to shape children for individual/societal economic advancement (though these may result from education). Instead, the purpose is to give or restore dignity to human life. In providing the constructs for a safe, worthwhile educational system, the hope is that society will stabilize so that each individual has the dignity to live with freedom and equality. Therefore, education is the not only the gaining of knowledge and experience but of providing dignity to human beings.
What is your role as a teacher?
The role of the teacher is to facilitate the purpose of education through curriculum. The teacher must establish a safe environment for the students to consume as much quantity as can be qualitatively learned. The teacher should determine the best methods for implementing the content according to student learning styles. The instructor guides student learning according to the established system. If the system is corrupted, the teacher must advocate for change in the system, according to what is best to fulfill the purpose of education.
What is the role of the student in your classroom?
Students must determine to learn about themselves, to explore their talents and gifts, to use these to aid others in their learning, and to aid others in society. Students are not simply to memorize information and report it verbatim, but they must train their minds to think critically as to interact with their talents. The content of the curriculum should be a vehicle to understanding themselves, gaining knowledge from past cultures, and thinking through the implications.
What are your beliefs about how children learn?
Students learn according to their levels of motivation. Motivation can be done with manipulation (behaviorism) or it can be done through autonomy. If the students are not motivated to learn the efforts of the teachers will inevitably be useless. Therefore, the education system must adapt to student needs through the avenues of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
How will you reach the wide diversity of children in your classroom?
Each student is different, as each individual in any given society is different. The differences should be viewed as positive and beneficial to carrying out the diverse tasks that will improve standards of living and help foster community. Diversity is difficult in the fact that it is unpredictable per geography, per year, and per classroom. The first step to reach the wide diversity of children in your classroom is to enter the environment with an attitude of flexibility and willingness to work with any situation. Lesson plans can potentially account for diversity; however, the teachers cannot build a plan that covers all types of students. Each individual student has the right to human dignity and therefore the right to the best education that can be offered. The teacher must be willing and prepared to interact with students within this mindset.
How do you address the needs of the individual learner?
The needs of the individual learner must initially be viewed as important by the teacher. From special needs to gifted to low-achievers, the needs of students must be addressed at an individual level from the teacher. Students should not be confined to one system that benefits some and hurts the rest. The teacher is responsible for advocating for the needs of the individual learners and implementing the plans created for individuals.
Structure that emphasizes the preservation of human dignity needs to be set in place. General rules that promote the responsibility to give dignity to fellow students should be set in place. However, rules should not be considered comprehensive and flawless – especially across cultures and time. The classroom should be comfortable for both the instructor and the students. Offensive behavior that degrades another individual should not be tolerated, and discipline should be carried out in a way that brings peace to both the victim and the offender. The level of offensiveness will most likely not be completely universal. The teacher should be knowledgeable of the society’s morals and ethics but also keep in mind universal norms.
Instructional strategies should be the method that a particular teacher can utilize to interact with a particular classroom of students. A classroom in a white, suburban American community should have far different strategies than that of a Chinese metropolitan community. The teacher should have the pedagogical skills to change the style of teaching in order to best teach the students.
If parents are capable of involvement, they should be encouraged to do so. A teacher can and should take steps to encourage the parents to include themselves in their children’s learning. A teacher does not have absolute authority, so mutual respect should be sought from both parties.