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Philosophy/Genre: Argumentative paper - Essay Example

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Mainstream Elementary Education: A Reasonable Approach? The average person in modern societies, the world over, believes that mainstream formal schooling is a reasonable approach to the education of elementary age children. In this paper, I will argue that mainstream formal schooling, for elementary age children, is not a reasonable approach…
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Philosophy/Genre: Argumentative paper
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Download file to see previous pages Central to this definition: 1. learner life experience should be the basic resource of education 2. cognitive mapping should be the basic methodology of education 3. self-determination should be the basic motivating force of education 4. goal-oriented attitude toward positive change should be the basic outcome of education. “What all learners are doing is developing a map of reliable methods of getting from negative states of mind to positive states of mind (Berg).” The reality of elementary education, in terms of lived experience, however, does not meet these criteria at all. Elementary children are removed from the natural arena of their multi-sensory, multiple-intelligences life experience, placed into an artificial learning environment (the school), where a sequence of teachers dispenses information to them, based on textbooks, which are written by professional academics who have been also isolated in artificial learning environments for even longer. Tests are administered, to be sure that delivered information has been memorized and can be properly regurgitated. The basic assessment of children’s learning, and the basic measuring stick of teaching/learning success, is a collection of tests prepared and administered by the State, with fairly overt political agenda. Learner life experience, and even adult life experience, is lacking in this process. Cognitive mapping is a process that requires time for self-reflection, and freedom to explore the child’s interests, to allow learning to naturally emerge and naturally link to other experiences of learning. In the elementary school classroom, lessons are isolated from each other, presented as discrete fragments. Math is math; social studies is social studies; music is music; science is science. There is little encouragement or modeling of how the world, and indeed the universe, is an integral experience. From the earliest days of the child’s acquisition of language, the integrative world is broken into discrete units and presented as fragments to be labeled. The child dutifully learns the labels. There is little emphasis on integration of experience. Elementary school education further fragments the child’s concept and experience of the world. The mainstream formal elementary school education experience is driven by State mandates, parent expectations, school curriculum, budget considerations, and teacher/administrator priorities. Learning is not self-determined. Children are rarely free to pursue their own interests, as they emerge, but rather read what they are told to, when they are told to; learn arithmetic in the style being used that year, and with externally-imposed timing, etc. They may be able to choose a book for a book report, or write an essay about what they did on their summer vacation, but the agenda is still externally-generated and not internally generated. This means that children are doing responsive performing, rather than being self-determined in their learning motivation. Given the reported rates of child suicide and attempted suicide, the high frequency of bullying, the incidence of children torturing and murdering other children, the substance abuse and criminal activities afflicting elementary school children today, rise of depression and stress among young children, the overwhelming numbers of children on strong ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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