Education as a Tool to Empower the Society
Education needs to instill the belief in its recipients that they are the master of their lives, have sizeable control over events happening to and around them and empower them to be valuable and respected members of the society. This paper seeks to illustrate how education can be applied to achieve empowerment amongst the masses and in effect help alleviate and eradicate certain societal inequities including poverty, substance abuse, criminality, illiteracy, and marginalization. I believe that children are different especially in the manner in which they intake information and thus as a teacher I will balance my teaching style in a manner that caters for each child under my tutelage. In my classroom, both direct instruction and constructivism styles will be applied as these two complement each other in allowing the tutor to instill knowledge while also allowing the students to form their own understanding from their experiences.
My personal philosophy of education is that education if excellently instituted in students should help them be the best versions of themselves and live up to their full potential. It is my belief that people in their best version tend to have a positive and empowering impact not just on their lives but on the wellbeing and uplifting of their society as well. Growing up, I witnessed my teachers going to great lengths to fulfill their duties as tutors and this left a lasting impression on me which has always guided my life; as such, as a prospective educator I want nothing short of giving my students my ultimate best.
Education needs to be regarded as an amour by its recipients in the collective effort of fighting societal inequities. One who is educated is considered an enlightened person with the distinctive ability to differentiate between right and wrong, help in fighting the wrongs while perpetuating the existence and dominance of right. A society with enough educated people tends to prosper and be advanced in multiple fields like technology, industrialism, politics et. al. For example, Colonialism around the world in the 20th century was only ended when enough citizens of the colonized states had garnered sufficient formal education and were able to question the role and justification of colonialism in their countries. It can also be noted that the world’s most developed countries also have very low illiteracy rates as compared to the growing economies who are still struggling with ensuring equal access to quality education to all its citizens. According to Kinloch (2017) “American public education has the potential to remedy inequality of opportunity, improve social conditions, and reduce high rates of poverty for all people, especially those of low socioeconomic status and diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds” (p. 1). Mann (1848) stated “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, — the balance-wheel of the social machinery” (p. 669). To this effect it is my desire that the students who learn from me get to do something worthwhile with their knowledge if not to help bridge the gaps in our society then at the very minimum elevate themselves to a higher understanding within their communities. My students should leave my classroom a formidable force to reckon with in the outside world.
As a teacher, I want to make the classroom feel like a community of individuals ready to take in knowledge and not just a teacher standing in front of students and talking. If a teacher is exploring and discovering new content with his or her students, the students’ interest in what is being taught will peak thereby increase their involvement in the learning process. This takes me to my desire to apply the constructivism approach in my class. This method engages the students’ experiences and assists them in forming their own understanding of particular issues. This technique when incorporated with direct instruction helps to steer the learner towards drawing the right conclusions of their experiences eventually leading to a better understanding of them and the reason for their occurrence. Gersten and Keating (n.d) argued that direct instruction makes students mature faster; they know what is expected in the teaching/learning process and appreciate this clarity. Both constructivism and direct instruction used together helps to avoid the banking problem where the teacher only serves to deposit knowledge onto the learner without giving the latter the chance to question the knowledge.
People learn through trying to understand their surroundings. A kindergarten child may ask herself, “why does the sun always seem to be moving and why does it have to happen daily?”, or “Why does the moon, unlike the sun, take different shapes at different times of the month”. Darling-Hammond, Austin, Suzanne and Rosso (2001) posit that, “Greater perceptual development and learning occur in environments that are rich with stimuli and provide useful feedback in response to a learner’s efforts to act upon the environment” (p. 11). It is therefore my desire to make my classroom rich with learning equipment like diagrams that should help drive my students towards being both inquisitive and able to form their own understandings after guided with consultations.
Students who frequently question their environment and experiences have a higher chance of being proactive members of the society. These people will not wait for someone else to come and solve their problems. Rather they take the initiative in looking for viable solutions and demanding answers from authorities who are slacking at their responsibilities.
A fundamental aspect of education philosophy entails maintaining a positive and fruitful relationship with my students. I believe that a productive relationship with the students keeps them motivated to come to school, learn new ideas, engage with their fellow learners and promote a sense of communal standing within the learning environment. An environment that does not shun failure and instead looks at it as an opportunity for the learner to dust himself up and do better helps him to develop the confidence needed to excel in his studies. A researcher noted that a harmonious classroom can assist with the development of creativity as well as reduce anxiety levels amongst students (Hattie, 2011, p. 23)
The classroom more often than not acts as an adequate representation of our differences in the community. These are learners from different walks of life who’ve been brought together with the desire to learn and empower their lives and it is my moral responsibility that I discharge of my duties not just equally but by also considering and appreciating that different students will take different modes of learning and understanding. I want to ensure that my students’ race, gender, socioeconomic status amongst many other forms of diversity to not interfere with my objective of being a just and favorable teacher.
It is my view that my philosophy and teaching techniques will go a long way in ensuring my students get the right skills and knowledge to be people of importance in the society with regards to how they treat other members of the community and what they do better their living standards and the affairs of their community. Their education should play a key role in making the world a better place to live in not just for themselves but also for others now and in the future. Educating our children is one of the perfect ways to guarantee a safe society and habitable environment for generations to come.
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