Thursday, August 25, 2011

Questions about School - Discussion

I must apologize...I feel so strictly formal while typing this. I am not a fan of that. You may notice that I am not writing with my normal tone...I felt that way at least. At any rate, I would like to know your thoughts, and there is one final question at the end :)

Who/What are schools for?

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • Schools are for teaching children about how the world around them works. They learn the rules of language, mathematics, and even physics, chemistry, and biology as they grow older. Schools are for showing kids what is going on outside of their house and outside of their neighborhood.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • Schools provide a sort of day-care while parents are busy bringing home the bacon. Schools with recess provide children with an outlet for their energy and playfulness, and even for their imaginations while they play and interact with each other.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • Schools are directly geard towards benefiting the children that attend them. However, as was stated above, schools also benefit parents by providing a means of childcare, and they benefit society by providing knowledge and experience for children to become functional members of society, even though it may not be until later in their lives.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • Schools such as colleges/universities provide opportunities for kids who still want to learn to continue to expand their knowledge of the world around them. They may choose to pay for classes and spend extensive amounts of time learning more about language, math, science, or other people. Public schools, like elementary, junior high, and high schools, on the other hand, may be geared more towards trying to teach an appreciation for learning to pupils who would rather be somewhere else.

How do you know?

As one member of our group stated, this is a short and simple question that is deep and difficult to answer. However, we discussed the following reasons:

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • We see evidence for this from our own experiences. In early education we learn about how to speak with proper grammar so that we can understand others and so that they can understand us. We learn about how math works so that we can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. We learn simple skills early in life so that they may be built upon later, in more advanced classes in later stages of schooling.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • The evidence for this line is seen in parents who drop their kids off at school but then do not talk with their children about what they learned. They do not work with their children on homework problems or help to reinforce the lessons given that day. Then, if their children do not perform up to the standards that are given, the teachers are blamed. Other parents do not seem to have any interest in how their children are doing in class.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • We know this by looking at significant historical figures of the past. A greater education generally leads to a greater involvement and/or impact in society. Children who grow up to be adults that do not understand what is going on around them (whether it be dealing with language, science, or politics) have little reason to concnern themselves with anyone but themselves. If a society is to continue to grow and advance, it must teach the next generation what there is to know, as well as encourage them to want to know more, as the last point shows.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • The strongest evidence towards school being for those who want to be in it is seen every day by our class. We are surrounded by a thriving university that only exists because people have decided that they want to keep learning. Colleges around the country, and the rest of the world, would not be in existence if there was not a desire for knowledge among the public. The evidence that shows that schools are for the students who do not want to be there is seen in the legal mandates that state a child must attend school until they are 18 years of age, in the United States. This law is trying to keep kids in school so that they might find what they are interested in and find their passion so that they may continue to pursue it in higher education.

Final Question: If this is what schools are for, are they fulfilling their purpose?

1 comment:

  1. One thing that stands out to me is the thought that parents use school as a daycare. I know that school is often treated in that way, but that's not the intended purpose of school (consider home schooling--the parent is involved in the learning and does not 'ship' the child off so that they don't have to take care of them).

    As I think about schools and how they are help children become functional members of society later on in life, I find myself believing that school is the only avenue a child can take. Why are children forced to stay in school until a certain age? Are they forced to stay in school because without school they won't be functional members of society? Because they won't learn about the world around them without a proper schooling? Or is it more because it's socially unacceptable to not get an education? ..I personally get the impression that school is just the 'social norm' in that it is unacceptable for any child to not receive their high school diploma (or GED). And society demands a schooling (have you ever noticed how many places require a high school diploma or GED for something as simple as a cash register position?)

    Another thought I had while reading this is that universities and colleges often include people that don't want to further their education...take my sister for example. She went to college for two years but dropped out because she didn't know what she was working towards and really didn't want to be there in the first place. She went to college because my parents expected her to (just as they expect me to go to college). And it reminds me that every time I tell someone that I have doubts about continuing my education, they tell me 'no, stay in school. You need a degree to get a job...and it doesn't matter what degree you have, but you need a degree because no one will hire you if you don't have a degree.'

    So I suppose school is meant to educate people and make them a functional part of society, but the only reason why children must go through school is because society has set that standard... :/

    And was very formal writing for you :P That's one of the worst things about school...they take the personality and voice out of people's writing just because it has to be formal and professional (so that we can learn to be a functional part of society, of course) :P