As the world evolves so should a society of people

By Diana Ashjian
December 10, 2004

Lori Iannella

Along with every new generation come new changes. The country in which we live is constantly evolving, but I’m not sure into what. Accordingly, the ways in which we communicate, construct the roles of each other within our society, assemble and utilize our values and morals, interact socially, and learn have revolutionized and become what we know as, “The Information Age.” In this country, educators are very well aware of this and strive not only to keep up with the incessant changes, but also to stay aware of what their purposes are so that they can perform their job more effectively. So, what is an educator’s purpose? And how should an educator educate?

Long ago, communication was based on reading, writing and conversations either personally or via the telephone. Before that communication and the ways in which people learned were orally, by word of mouth or by the written word and a trusty chalkboard. Now, our boundaries have exploded and allowed us to explore much more advanced means of communication. Today we are taught to do academic research on the Internet. We now have networks that provide us with the kind of technology that make the old mathematical and grammatical classroom seem so outdated, but are these furthered networks curbing humanity and making networks out of us?

Students need guidance to understand that as individuals in society, they eventually need to separate themselves from stereotypes and decide where their place will be in the world instead of merely accepting false identities placed upon them. I really don’t think that teaching a group of 30 students all in the same way could be effective to all of them. Even varied techniques wouldn’t reach everyone because the less attention from a teacher to a student who is a child, to me, means less trust.

And classrooms that are becoming increasingly technological may be expanding resources, but at the same time could be trading in real objective and a real passion for learning for teachers who, as a result, are neglecting a more empathetic approach at constructing real person-to-person contact in the classroom.

It is not enough for the youth of America to digest the words, the thoughts and the ideas of another. Maybe the purpose of initial American schools was to mold a people into citizenship, but now America’s youth is expected and might soon be forced to go into other countries and risk their lives to help build governments that agree with the values that have continually spiraled South of where they started, right here in the U.S. So, doesn’t that mean that we need new and more profound goals? It takes more than hype about a political campaign to promote liberalism and more than memorization of the preamble of The Constitution to encourage patriotism. I’m just not sure exactly what would.

What is the point if what is learned by that same youth that will be asked to fight, than, is not too much more than how to make a “works cited” page and how to calculate a mortgage. Maybe a proposed deeper kind of digestion should start with the dissection of “The Pledge of Allegiance.” When is the last time any of us has had to say it? And when and if we still do, do our right hands flutter to our chest consciously to make a pledge or is it out of old habit? What I’m saying is that it is questionable whether or not our country’s children are learning to lead or being led into apathy and conformity with textbooks, worksheets and even prayer that could all very well have no sufficient meaning or substance without time spent on allowing the student to grow with new knowledge instead of on top of it.

Maybe humanities should be stressed more than, but not more in a standardized form that includes status quos and test scores, but in a form that is presented existentially allowing room for uniqueness and individualism. I think that more creative classes, such as theater and poetry, could prove to be a significant part of learning because students, through art and literature, can adopt morals and values. I do realize that the Internet could be such a useful tool in assisting such a mission and I don’t dispute that.

What I am disputing is the danger in trying to bring the world so close together with communicative technology and marketing that monotony will become paramount and the human soul in all of its creativity will start to become extinct. Sound far-fetched? Sure it does, but someone tell me in which direction the educational curriculums in our country’s grammar schools are sending the kids. Someone reassure us all as future and aspiring leaders that those at our heels are learning the kind of empathy that will teach them to respect each other’s opinions and differences instead of learning how to scorn each other for them aggressively and ruthlessly, like in Columbine.

Whichever way American children are taught, I think that schools are fundamental tools in shaping an entire county, and that is why they should be challenged. Every grant should be considered and questioned. I’m not particularly sure what purpose every school has or every teacher. I would like to think that purposes would include hopes at enhancing and stimulating the individual minds of America’s youth and finding as much brilliance as possible as well as emphasis on compassion and interpersonal skills that build confidence along with technology and all that it has to offer.

In closing and in my personal opinion, I think that a separation of schooling and state could and ideally should be looked into and considered by those who plan on making a difference in the schooling system and by those who dare to really lead because as our world continues to evolve so should we as a society of people free to do what we choose.

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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Diana Ashjian

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