Education as Is
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The education system is one of the cornerstones of the development of a healthy and prosperous nation. It is one of the most conservative systems in every country due to the traditions and sluggishness of academic circles. However, the education system and educational institutions have to change according to the changes in the society in order to be effective. This essay will argue that independent learning and communal process are two important aspects of university learning. The following points will be discussed: students’ diversity, subjectivities, and creativity in modern university and how communal process and independent learning process can coexist, considering these characteristics of students.
The modern world has become very open and closed at the same time for the past decades. The advancements in technologies have provided numerous opportunities to eliminate the borders and make knowledge and wisdom of the world available to many people. At the same time, the differences between the rich and the poor, between educated and uneducated people became even more substantial. Therefore, the conservatism of the developed societies is still in place. The gap can be decreased using smart approach to the organization of both communal and independent learning processes in order to allow students from different social circles become closer.
On one hand, it is clear that university is not the place to force young people learn something – they have to understand the importance of being at university, the goals they pursue and learn voluntarily, individually. On the other, individual learning had always been less effective that communal processes in this area. Therefore, the challenge of the day for the teachers is to create such learning process that would consider students’ differences and diversities.
Teachers can be helpful to correct or add something right away. Learning in groups can be useful because of the level of freedom the students have. In addition, students with lower level of preparedness can get help from their better-prepared colleagues and the overall level of knowledge in such group increases. In case of individual learning, getting help might be difficult if not impossible at all. Thus, as Convoy (1988) says: “I was a self-taught pianist, pretty shaky on theory and harmony, and when he said sixths I kept trying to fit the information into what I already knew…”
Taking into consideration what has been previously said, the balance is to be found between the individual learning and communal process. It is very important in terms of the development of students’ subjectivities. The main purpose of any university is to create a new specialist in some area according to the individual needs and peculiarities of this person. However, it is not possible to have one teacher for each student. Therefore, the process of such “creation” has to be universal.
The thing is that subjectivities of each student cannot be considered while creating a learning course for some subject. Therefore, those who want to get more from each course master it deeper individually. Convoy (1988) referred to the words of an old wise man who smiled with significance, as if saying that things can be more complicated than they first appear. It is important to learn deeper layers in order to understand what lies on the surface after all.
The problem is in the control of the process, which is easier in the communal learning process. It can be described as the inability of the teachers to be on the “same page” with their students because of the differences in age, experience, etc. Most teachers tend to be mentors that know more than students do, despite the fact that in some areas, considering peculiarities of students and their desire to develop in different areas, students are more developed.
Unnecessary pressure is not the only fallacy that is commonly present in the educational system. There are more of them. Here are the most common and widely “adopted” ones: the fallacy of professionalism, of responsibility, of incompetence, of competitiveness, and of knowledge. Thus, professionalism has already been mentioned. Responsibility is the fallacy about the total responsibility of students of their low results. It is not so. The problem is mutual – the inability to create the learning process and inability from both sides to influence the issue appropriately. Both parties are responsible for the result. Teachers’ purpose is to teach after all.
The same teachers and students play their roles in individual and communal processes of education. Therefore, in case of the low level of qualification a teacher has, or deep knowledge a student has, individual learning would be far more preferable. Otherwise, the communal process of education is much more effective.
Finally, creativity is the issue to consider in the learning process development. Creativity cannot be something that a group has. It is always the merit of individuals. Therefore, such people should learn individually. The thing is that creativity is good and can be useful not only for the individuals as sources of the ideas. Teachers can use such students in groups to enhance the learning process on one hand, and help creative students develop their skills, including leadership and others. Therefore, creativity is better to be used for the common good in groups, and communal process of education just wins from it.
However, creative people are usually above the norms and standards and are accepted by a society as normal. They could be loners, reserved people that might not want to be public or so. It means that peculiarities of such outstanding students have to be considered by smart teachers. In general, the learning process must be constructed in accordance to the above-mentioned considerations and implemented by the professionals in the learning area. These specialists must be highly skilled in the area of communication with students of different level of preparedness, origin, etc. They must not be the best in areas they teach. Teachers must know how to show the way to master something to the students, the most appropriate way, would it be individual or communal process. Moreover, they should be able to determine which learning process is more appropriate for each student.