A school is a social institution that encompasses all agencies in the social process effective in educating children and sharing with them the inherited resources of the community (Dewey, 2012). The continued purpose of a school since ancient times has been to enable children to grow in the full realization of what it is to be a human being. Other objectives of a school have been widely accepted, which is a place that allows a child to gain intellectual capabilities to serve social needs and contribute to society. However, over the past few decades, classrooms have significantly changed; thus, so have the ideas of the purpose of schooling. John Dewey's previous theory that the use of a school is to transfer knowledge to a child and prepare them for participation in a nation's democratic society seems to have existed before its time. Today, children live in a new global community that is interconnected like never before. A school in contemporary society should be a place where children experience continuous growth, learn real-life issues, and are nurtured to have deep moral and ethical values.
What should be taught in the 21st Century?
The school is a particular environment that offers formal education in the context of globalization and is responsible for instilling the social role in students. Education is a continuous process that involves adaptation to the environment. The environment at time consists of conditions that may promote or hinder, stimulate or inhibit the standard characters functioning and activities of a human being (Dewey, 2012). Schools should thus serve to provoke and create a better society. Instead of students being passive learners, they should be encouraged to interact with the curriculum and take part in their learning. Students should not only be taught a basic set of rules on how to excel in specific tasks and future jobs, but they should be taught how to learn. It includes the use of constant stimulus for new questions and new information, the involvement of real problems that are of interest to the learner, creation of a worthwhile activity within the issue, plus an ordered experience that allows for continuous growth based on the context of the past, present, and future considerations. Students should be provided with real-life challenges; for example, they could learn math by evaluating the time it takes from one place to another, and history could be determined by analyzing the past lives of other people. Teachers, parents, and other parties are supposed to create, develop, and sustain suitable learning environments in these schools. However, it does not mean that students are not to take the consequences of their failures.
The Most Important thing for Students to Learn
Progressive learning should be an essential form of learning that students should learn. This learning involves learning by doing instead of passive learning. Although passive learning brings results on a child's educative process, many are times when the child only gets to know about theoretical and necessary skills about a specific issue instead of tactical skills that can be used in a real-life situation(Dewey, 2012). For this reason, students should be allowed to get a hand on approach in their learning. A classroom should be a place where reality is experienced.
Most importantly, education should be a gateway where students learn on moral values and interacting with society. It is in schools where children get to learn how to interact with their environment so that they can sequentially become noble people in the community. In other words, the point of education is not to get only a set of specific skills but rather a place where a student should realize their full potential and use the same for the good of the community.
What it Mean to Be Educated
The process of education starts unconsciously before conception (Dewey, 2012). It continues throughout a person's life by shaping their powers and ideas, saturating their consciousness, developing their habits, and awaken their emotions and feelings. Being educated is a daily process that ensures continuous nourishment of the way we live. It is when a person gradually comes in contact with the intellectual and moral resources bestowed to them by humanity. A person gets truly educated through simulation of his powers by the demand to react to a social situation that he faces throughout his life. Education, therefore, is a process of living. Being educated refers to the process where an individual has fully come to share with the social consciousness and can adjust oneself based on the social context. Education allows one to have regard for both individual and social ideals. An educated person has not only been influenced by themselves but also the community to develop a unique character that acts as the only legitimate basis of living right.
How Students should be taught
Teaching should involve the process where both parents and teachers create a sustainable environment that allows conducive learning for a child. A parent or teacher should know the needs of a child and provide these needs to them. A teacher is a social servant, and they should seek to maintain a social atmosphere and proper social order. Teachers should not only teach knowledge to their students, but they should first be interested in the student's impulses and interests (Dewey, 2012). Their primary duty is to guide students through the complexities of life and ensure that children successfully adjust to the immediate conditions of life.
Additionally, children should be given the freedom to choose how they want to learn; however, this freedom should be regulated and exercised in the interest of the community as well. A teacher is supposed to know that students are diverse and handle each one of them according to their temperamental and intellectual abilities. In terms of discipline, a teacher should guide a child on the need for both self and group discipline and train them to maintain the same on their own accord. A child is to get moral values from the natural impulses of school activities and not through rigid punishment.
Importance of Starting School at an Early Age
Education is a fundamental component in preparing for the future. As children, their instincts and power provide the basis and starting point for learning. However, according to the activities that a child engaged in, the results of their abilities may not necessarily be educative. Children require to have educators who can guide them through their early life and help them manage their powers (Dewey, 2012). Without any insights, a child's educative process may end up being arbitrary, and if it coincides with their activities, the results will be a disintegration of the child's nature. Therefore, it becomes advantageous for a child to join schooling at an early age. It is at this old age that educators can help prepare their children to take command of themselves. Teachers get the chance to train their pupils on how to fully and readily use their capabilities and interests. Children will get to learn how to handle real-life situations and adapt to various circumstances of life, beginning from an early age.
Dewey, J. (2012). Democracy and education. Courier Corporation.
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