Reflection Essay on Purpose of Education

John Travolta Earl Sullivan Writing 121 28 February 2013 The Right Path When I first started school I did not understand the purpose of my education. I saw it as another thing I was forced to do. All children are forced to go to school and I think that because we have no choice our childhood image of education ends up blurry. Generally when people are forced to do something against their will they develop a lack of motivation for the activity. I think this explains why many kids in elementary schools have decided that school is a waste of time and that they don’t enjoy it.
Since children are required to attend school up until age 16 in the U. S. many kids don’t realize how lucky they are to be participating in a free education. Young people in other parts of the Earth have to pay thousands of dollars if they want to become educated. These people pay for their education because they understand how much it can positively benefit their lives. I wish I had learned earlier that education is the most important tool for survival. In Earl Shorris’ article entitled “In the Hands of the Restless Poor” he explains that rich people have been educated by the humanities and the poor people in his class weren’t.
Shorris believes that with education in the humanities the students in his class will begin to understand that learning is their best tool for survival, not guns or knives. The purpose of education is surrounded by the need for survival. Over the course of human history many new practices of medicine have been developed. It is essential that people be educated in how to stop bleeding from a wound or how to give someone the heimlich maneuver. If for whatever reason humans need to gather food in the wilderness it is important to know which food is okay to eat and which is poisonous.

Many people who are not educated develop obesity because they don’t care about the information they might have heard about the risks of eating unhealthy items like fast food and products containing high fructose corn syrup. Shorris believes that education is essential for helping people get out of poverty. Shorris explains that people who are educated in the humanities have gained leverage over the people who haven’t. I mean that with education in the humanities the people in his class were able to become political.
Political in this context means understanding how to communicate with other people for mutual or singular benefit. The people with political minds know how to communicate during an interview so they have a much higher chance of receiving that job. Learning how to be political can help a students experience in school. These students are not embarrassed to ask questions when they don’t understand assignments. I think that Shorris is teaching his readers how to have the confidence to ask teachers, adults, and peers questions.
With the ability to ask questions people are able to learn more from their educators because when people are first introduced to a new concept it is difficult to completely understand the idea. The only way to fully comprehend is by asking the right questions. Shorris teaches us that education should be the key to getting out of an impoverished lifestyle. From learning how to ask questions lifelong learners are able to learn even more from their education. Asking questions can clarify understanding and help people understand the full concept.
I agree that education should be used as a way to escape from poverty. The only problem with education being an escape route from poverty is that it takes a lot of time and effort before people see any results. Some people in poverty might not see any changes in their lives, money wise, until much later after they graduate from college. Since many teenagers don’t want to wait ten or fifteen years until they graduate from college they turn to gang life. They see gang life as a way to be able to support themselves and their family quickly.
The problem with gang life is that the members become trapped by a surround of force. This means that once they are a gang member they have a rough time quitting their gang and adjusting back to civilian life. This is unlike the force that Shorris speaks about relating to being poor because many gang members have lives of luxury. It is related to Shorris’ idea because I imagine that being in a gang is like being on another planet. The gang members see no alternative lifestyle to gangs because many of them will be killed if they try to leave.
If gang members leave their gangs they don’t know any alternative to making money besides crime and they have trouble fitting back into society. If they managed to collect any profit from drug money they won’t be able to use most of it because it will be linked to a drug organization. Even though gang life may seem like a shortcut to a rich lifestyle, it will actually take much longer than an education because of the dirty money, chances of a prison sentence, and the high risk of death.
With an education, people are able to learn about the world and what it takes to be wealthy without the risk of a person overdosing on heroin that you sold them. For example one might learn in school about non-profit organizations and devote their lives to helping other people get on the right path to success. Earl Shorris made an effort to recruit top notch teachers for his Clemente Classroom. His class was well organized but without great teachers he feared that his students would not benefit from the teaching.
He was very fortunate that these teachers decided to volunteer their time. Carol Stevens talks very critically of educational institutions in her article entitled “Formulating new criteria for teacher candidate selection” because of their lack of teaching the correct methods that best help students. She complains that institutions develop requirements that makes them look better in the public eye, instead they need to develop curriculums that focus on proper techniques that can help individual students more than the collective group.
Stevens is focusing on a rush of new teachers being hired in the year 2000, but her article can relate to any hiring process that teaching administrators go through. It is important that we have some of our brightest minds in our country being teachers. A sad fact is that a majority of our very intelligent citizens do not pursue a teaching career because of the low wages. Since we don’t have the smartest of smart being enrolled in teacher education programs at universities, Stevens writes that our programs need to be even more precise so that our incoming teachers fully understand how to positively change their student’s lives.
When it boils down to the, basics it is the teacher’s responsibility to educate their students. Whether a teacher succeeds or fails at making a difference depends on the techniques they learned in college. An incorrect teaching method would be an educator who treats their students like they are fused together as one person. Educators like this don’t think about individual students and different methods of teaching. A poor educator will teach one method to the whole class and be surprised when numerous students don’t understand the concepts.
Due to poor teacher training a teacher might believe that the problem lies in their student’s intelligence instead of their teaching methods. It t is an educators job to teach the students that education is a key part of survival. It should not be forgotten that no matter how great of an education a teacher has or the advanced teaching methods they use, students in their class will not learn anything if they don’t listen and work hard. It is also every individual’s responsibility to understand that we will not learn if we are not motivated to absorb information.
Stevens argues that school districts hiring teachers, and institutions accepting people as education majors have different requirements for being accepted and she says this is a problem because they are viewed as dangers to the overall skill of teachers in America. If we have teachers that aren’t prepared to be teachers then no student will be able to see what education can do for them. Education is supposed to be a ticket to survival. That ticket will not help you if the pilot does not know the proper way to fly the plane.
Education should be a key to survival for us and Stevens goes one step further into this theory by making the point that America needs more higher quality teachers if we want our educational system to play an even bigger role in helping our citizens find success. Stevens does not like how only forty-three states in America require potential teachers to take a licensing test. She wants all fifty states to require a test so incoming teachers can prove the knowledge they’ve learned. Stevens believes that teachers are the main people who have the responsibility of educating us and that it is their duty to properly educate us.
She believes that an important method of educating students is being able to communicate verbally with them. I think that verbal communication is important because face to face conversations gives students an opportunity to be more personal with their teachers and once a more personal relationship is created, a student will have ask more questions and become motivated to listen to what their teachers have to say. Stevens discusses the advantages of having an organized lesson plan. Without a termly lesson plan a teacher will not be able to properly educate their students because they didn’t plan their class time correctly.
With a lack of time, the students will not have a chance to fully understand the more complicated ideas in the classroom. Stevens believes that education needs to be appropriate for age and grade level. This is a problem that many new educators encounter during their first few years of teaching especially if they have chosen to be an elementary teacher or middle school teacher. Proper teaching instruction must be developed by teachers so that the age level they are teaching is able to understand what is going on.
If teachers know how to become more personal with their students, have organized lesson plans and use those lesson plans for the age group they are teaching, then education becomes a ticket to survival for their students. With these proper teaching methods the students will be able learn at a good rate and become successful productive members of society. Shorris had great teachers in his Clemente Class and I think if he accepted worse teachers half of the original sixteen people who graduated from the class would have failed the class.
I think that recruiting great teachers into that field of employment will help our intelligence as a nation because I believe that a student can become motivated to learn with the help of an educator who invests their time in their students life. I remember in fourth grade I didn’t have very much motivation to excel but when I got to fifth grade a great teacher named Mrs. Kenyon helped me become a better student by being strict. She was strict meaning she cared if we didn’t do our work, she wanted us to excel.
She brought out the best student in me by making me work really hard to get the good grades that I wanted. I carried this work ethic through middle school, and picked it back up in college when I began understanding how important my education was. Mrs. Kenyon taught me that education is my ticket to survival, my shot at a life with endless opportunities. If Mrs. Kenyon hadn’t been taught how to communicate with her fifth grade students so well over the course of her life I don’t think that I would have been able to pick up the pieces of my life that I broke during high school.
When I had motivation to become educated, I was able to realize how much potential I had. She showed me how much potential I have as a student and as a person. Now in my college days I am learning many things from my new teachers. I don’t think I would understand these great college facts if I hadn’t learned about the knowledgeable rewards I receive when I work hard on my school work. Mrs. Kenyon taught me about the rewards because she learned how to be a great teacher in school. I believe Mrs. Kenyon is the teacher that Carol Stevens is drawing a picture of in her article.

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