Creating An Independent Citizen Or Forming A Predictable Pattern Of Behavior

1992 words - 8 pages

Education in its broadest sense is a process of getting new knowledge and skills both through primary socialization and special facilities. It forms a foundation for human development, a basis for a happy and prosperous future for any child. Therefore education by itself is multi-layered and involves both families and schools. At the same time, the very essence of education is unclear. The main question is whether a child should learn how to think independently and become able to defend their own opinion on a given issue or if it is more important to form certain patterns of behavior, necessary for survival in the harsh world of adults. In this paper, I will present two points of view on the ...view middle of the document...

If two children – a girl and a boy – are playing, pretending to be a family, the boy is more likely to ‘work’ while the girl would probably cook, take care of the ‘children’, and wait for her ‘husband’ at home. Attempting to explain such patterns of behavior, many scholars refer to innate differences. Pollitt claims that such theories are rather appealing to the parents as they give them a possibility to justify their actions:
“They let families buy for their children, without too much guilt, the unbelievably sexist junk that the kids, who have been watching commercials since birth, understandably crave” (Pollitt, 1995).

By the end of her article, Pollitt comes to a conclusion that it is not completely up to the parents whether to form certain patterns of behavior of their children or not. Taking into consideration the fact that the majority of information is received from sources other than parents – kindergarten, school, friends, activity groups, media – the parents have limited capacity to filter such information. All that they can do is make sure that their children are getting the right messages from their surroundings.
A similar question is raised in the article, titled “Against School: How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, And Why?” The author, John Taylor Gatto, tells the readers about his experience with teaching and attempts to distinguish the main problems of the schooling system. Even though he focuses more on schools, professionalism of teachers, ways and means of teaching etc., his message is similar to that of Katha Pollitt – should the schools form independent thinkers or impose certain behavioral patterns accepted by society.
Gatto calls a school a factory, expected to create a mediocre member of a society. The teachers are not interested in getting new skills or employing innovative teaching methods. Moreover, they tend to avoid the topics that can be controversial or go beyond the curriculum. The problem is not with the education rather it is the schooling that is conducted wrong. Education is much needed and should be provided, according to Gatto. But he argues that forced schooling in, its current form, is absolutely pointless from the perspective of getting new knowledge and skills. The level of education of homeschoolers is often higher than the level of students, attending conventional schools. They tend to enjoy the process of learning while the students of public schooling tend to rush for results. In most cases the results are measured in the grades and not the knowledge gained.
Nevertheless, the system of schooling is very likely to remain the way it is. When it was first introduced, the purpose behind it was rather clear. The government benefits largely from the current system of education as it serves the needs of the decision-makers by forming certain patterns of behavior, necessary to keep the public under control. Gatto illustrates this statement by describing the origins of such a system. The concept...

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