The pursuit of learning, it must be argued, is an activity that brings into perfection the finest essence of human persons. And the reason for this, as I have mentioned in my previous paper, is quite self-evident: to engage in learning – or any activity analogous to the purposeful acquisition of knowledge – is to nurture the gifts which, at best, summarily render humanity as creatures cut above the rest – i. e. , freewill and rationality (Moore and Bruder 67). Thus, the supreme importance of creating welcome avenues for learning needs to be considered as a task second to none.At the very least, all human persons are, by virtue of their innate superiority, necessitated to constantly strive to create windows of opportunities for higher learning, as well as address ebbs of challenges which, if left unchecked, may end up frustrating the correct methodologies to progressive learning. In view of such felt need, this paper argues for the necessity of framing forward-looking goals that can best address the contemporary challenges, which otherwise can pose serious threats to the attainment of quality education.
To this end, this study deems it appropriate to limit the discussion into unraveling three concrete goals that may be adopted, in the hope of addressing contemporary concerns to education: first, to rethink the model of educational Psychology operative on most learning institution; second, to revolutionize classroom management towards greater inclusion and participation; and third, to re-conceptualize the appreciation of education as that which prepares students for a greater role in the society later on in their otherwise brief lives.
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It needs to be firstly pointed out however that in itself, education cannot be reduced into these three goals. The human mind, it needs to be argued, is capable of learning many facets of knowledge; and as a consequence, the goals with which each learning facet takes can be taken distinctly from others. For instance, if one were to pursue an education in Engineering, the specific goals with which his or her learning process takes must see through the need to develop one’s knowledge of precise mathematical theories on the one hand, and skills relative to concrete application of calculated findings on the other hand.
The goal of a person studying Engineering therefore falls more into the acquisition of a knowledge that integrates abstract mathematical theories with concrete skills in fine arts and drawing. One does not compare such goal with, say educating someone who, while mentally impaired, manifests strains of learning nevertheless. The point in contention here lies in the plain recognition that learning can and must always be construed with its varying goals, “depending on the learner’s frame and chosen field of competence” (Ten Dam and Volman 282).
Three Forward-Looking Goals It merits firstly arguing that there is a need to rethink the model of Educational Psychology operative on many learning institutions nowadays. Herein it would be necessary to cite that there appears to be two major schools of thought being adopted into the conduct of present-day education: the behaviorist and cognitive paradigms. On the one hand, the behaviorist model of education is most often gleaned on learning strategies that take students as ‘passive learners’ – i. e. , as mere reactors to learning stimuli.
The stance, as it were, takes on a highly stereotyped understanding of human behavior; it “takes the mind of a child as a tabula rasa upon which the message of experience is to be written” (Wartofsky 113). On the other hand, the cognitive model of education adopts a paradigm which is exactly the opposite of the behaviorist model. It believes that learning instruction has to promote the mental abilities already intrinsic to human persons, even before they enter their respective learning places – they are mere mental processes that need to be unraveled.
When a learner is therefore taken under the acute lenses of cognitive philosophy, the process of developing the unique abilities of abstraction, analysis, cognition, deconstruction, problem solving and self-reflection are the aspects that act as the crux of one’s learning. There is, however, a danger in choosing only one paradigm to adopt. On the one hand, it is certainly unwise to take learners as though they were programmed to uncritically absorb everything that they are being taught.
Learning is not entirely about external influences. On the other hand, it is equally self-defeating to regard students as process-induced organisms, without recourse to appreciating their concrete situations. Learning is not completely about internal processes. This is why, it is imperative to rethink the psychological model of Educational. At best, what appears to be a more promising model to adopt is that which seeks to integrate these twin paradigms into a comprehensive model for education.
Concretely, this can be achieved by taking learners as “highly structured organisms, who in their own unique ways, do try to ‘make sense’ of their life experiences in a manner that is not only active but also constructive” (Wartofsky 113). In other words, what Wartofsky correctly notes stems from a keen, if not correct observation that learning is much more than the acquisition of knowledge and the development of innate skills. Learning, instead, brings into fruition one’s knowledge and skills, by charting how one is able to successfully apply these concepts into prolific results.
Secondly, the telling need to revolutionize the pedagogies and strategies pertinent to effective classroom instruction represents an unmistakably rapidly-growing concern for most educational institutions. At the very least, the old model of traditional instruction needs to be supplanted with better strategies which are now available in the field. Learning, it needs to be noted, is a delicate process; it must be attended to only by acceptable approaches and inviting programs. For such reason, Kounin believes that classroom management is of the essence in the entire learning process – i.
e. , “good classroom management” must be considered as an indispensable requisite to student’s learning” (qtd. in Emmer and Stough 104). And there are reasons to think the manner by which educators create and design appropriate classroom management styles spells the difference between the welcome promotion of learning and the unfortunate frustration of the same. On the one hand, revolutionizing the contemporary approach to learning necessitates a thorough re-evaluation of the technical aspects of classroom management.
This re-evaluation process entails, still according to the suggestions of Kounin, putting a fair amount of effort and energy to apply all the three aspects of classroom management into the learning environment: first, to ensure that “preparations” relative to academic programs and campus regulations are properly articulated and clearly outlined so as to facilitate their effective implementation; second, to determine head-on whether or not the interaction transpiring between the educator and learners during the “actual” learning process are marked by appropriateness and facility; and third, to determine a program that assesses and monitors how educators are able to “control” the environment for learning (Vasa 64-66).
One may correctly notice that this specific program seeks to guide the learning process before it is undertaken, during its implementation and after the process has been completed. Simply put, the process is comprehensive. And it is with good reasons that a learning institution must adopt such a revolutionary program to guide their respective educational goals and visions into welcome fruition. On the other hand, it has to be likewise appreciated that any effort to revolutionize classroom management cannot stop at ensuring that the aforesaid technical aspects work effectively in the service of efficiency and facility. With equal or more emphasis, there is a need to revolutionize, in a manner being drastic but progressive, the fundamental concept of the learning process itself.
Herein, it is wise to reminded what P. Freire has to say about the matter – i. e. , learning cannot be seen as an asymmetrical process, where teachers dole out incremental nuggets of knowledge and students receive them uncritically as though they were nothing but repositories of data and information. When a learning institution engages in this type of one-way instruction, Freire believes that it adopts an unmistakably restrictive “banking concept of education”. He believes that under this model, “knowledge is (considered as) a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing” (Friere).
Instead, Freire maintains that classroom instructions, as indeed the entire process of education, have to revolutionized so as to cater to the need to “strive for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality” (Freire). For only when educators see the supreme importance of promoting the learner’s concrete appropriation of his or her learning can learning environments break free from the traditional spoon-feeding model of instruction that has long plagued the many educational systems. Thirdly, there is a certainly a need to re-orient the goal of education in respect to its duty to prepare the learners in discerning their chosen vocations relative the needs of the society later on. Nowadays, education is often seen as a personal ticket to success; an instrument which yields a higher rate of success to the top.
More and more therefore, the call to recover the thrust of education from this highly individualistic frame becomes even more relevant. As indeed, the need to underscore the intricate relations between the goals of education and the needs of the society cannot be under-appreciated. In ways of more than one, learning is really about participating in the network of relationships latched in humanity’s basic sociality. Learning is indeed about “the increasing ability to participate in the social and culture practices which are considered important in the society” (Ten Dam and Volman 285). And this does not entail seeing the education of students as a precursor their filling up certain stereotyped roles which a society demands.
Ten Dam and Volman believes that “adequate participation” in the society “does not mean behaving according to a fixed set of norms, but being able to deal flexibly with the differences and other choices and possibilities” (284). Thus, learning is about empowering the students to discover their inner gifts while they are at school so that they can use them for the sake of society’s wellbeing later. In the ultimate analysis, it must be recognized that “the content of education has” indeed something “to do with society’s need for people who are prepared for the conditions of life in a civil society” (Daniliuk 13). To briefly conclude, this paper ends with a thought that affirms the abiding necessity of conceiving forward-looking goals to help address the contemporary conduct of education.
Time is indeed changing fast; and so is the manner by which the world understands education and human learning. In order to adapt, challenges must be met with equivalent responses and adequate solutions. Three concrete suggestions have been raised in this paper: to re-conceptualize the model of educational Psychology, to revolutionize classroom management approaches, and to recover the role of education in respect to the needs of the society. Surely, there are still a lot more challenges to hurdle; a lot more Goliaths to slay. For the time being, the world can rest assured that for as long as concrete steps are being framed to address educational issues, there can be little doubt that humanity’s can always strive for constant learning.
Daniliuk, A. “The Role of Education in the Formation of a Civil Society”. Russian Education and Society, 50, 5, 2008.
Emmer, E. & Stough, L. “Classroom Management: A Critical Part of Educational Psychology, with Implications for Teacher Education”. Educational Psychologist, 32, 2, 2001.
Freire, P. “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education”.
Ten Dam, G. & Volman M. “Educating for Adulthood or for Citizenship: Social Competence as an Educational Goal”. European Journal of Education, 42, 2, 2007.
Vasa, S. (1984). “Classroom Management: Selected Overview of Literature”. Teacher Education Monograph, 1, pp. 64-74.
Wartofsky, M. “On the Creation and Transformation of Norms of Human Development”. Leonard Cirillo & Seymour Wapner, editors. Value Presuppositions in Theories of Human Development. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1986.
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