The function and purpose of schools in society is a topic that ignites many arguments among the general public. Everybody has an idea about how the K-12 school system should be run, and with all these voices competing against one another it is hard to enact change to the school system. Yet, change still occurs and the curriculum continues to evolve. Being able to look back in history at schools and to see how far they’ve come can say a lot about why the school system is the way it is.
In the beginning, school was used as a way to transition children from working insanely dangerous and rigorously long hours to support their families to a childhood of learning and moving up social classes through education. The belief behind the implementation of school was to keep children busy and out of the penile system. I learned that it was believed at this time that if children were not kept busy that they would go looking for trouble.
I was able to reflect back on my time in school, and to the years before me to analyse the times when the school system shifted. I then was able to identify that the changes in the school system were correlated with changes in society. One of the newest examples I can think of is the integration of digital citizenship into the school curriculum. As the use and population of digital technology continues to grow in society, schools have changed in order to accommodate society.
Having a philosophy of education is important for all teachers. I learned that there are typically four different types of educational philosophies:
- Perennialism – The focus of education should be the ideas that have lasted over centuries.
- Essentialism – Tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development.
- Progressivism – individuality , progress, and change are fundamental to one’s education.
- Reconstructionism – Emphasizes the addressing of social questions and a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy.
A connection I made at this time was to the past belief that children needed to be kept busy to stay out of trouble. In present times there is a big debate between over-scheduling and under-scheduling. Along with school, students take part in dance, hockey, taekwondo, etc. It feels as if this belief stems from the industrial age when schools were first invented to keep children busy.
The next connection I was able to make very easily was to the mention of the debate between classical education and vocational education. I personally experienced a very classical education where I learned from history’s greatest works and math formulations from the past. During my high school education I was given the opportunity to attend a vocationally driven school called Campus Regina Public. This school was for people who believed that they would benefit and succeed in a more vocational styled education.
My question for this week is who decides what is taught and how it is taught?