What Is Education Essay

1425 words - 6 pages

What is education?
What are the challenges facing those who provide it?

Education is a crucial part of life, it influences the way people think, speak, talk, write and react to the world around them. However, education is much more than just an influence, it is a part of life itself. Throughout the past century, education has dramatically called upon change and variation, with new technology, science, and both ethical and cultural values making way. Hence, education can really only be defined by its time and place. This means that as educators, we need to continually update our qualifications and skills to be in equilibrium with the constant changes that are happening around us, which is a challenge all educators face (Dusseldorp 1998).

Functionalism is the idea that there should be an even balance in society, which is achieved through the various roles played by the different parts of society (Walker & Loughland 2001). This idea is based on the ideals that everyone in society has a role to play, and everyone also has an equal chance to play each role. But instead, it can clearly be seen that education has otherwise been used as a sorting mechanism, ever since education became compulsory in 1880. McBurney-Fry (2002:6) states that one of the purposes of education is “to sort and distribute people into appropriate roles such as occupational hierarchies, employment and life chances.” It can easily be seen that this way of sorting is not always fair, but instead children are sorted into various groups, such as race, gender, cultural background, ethnicity, religion and academic ability, rather then providing equal opportunities for everyone. Therefore, educators need to teach a group of individuals rather than teaching a class of children. By not treating each child as an individual with different learning capabilities, the challenge of creating a fair chance for each child will never be met. Educational institutions should try their hardest to restore this balance, and provide an equal opportunity for each child for their futures to come.

Kalantzis (1998) argued that one of the main objectives of education is to prepare young people for the world of employment, but through the continuous development of postFordism this objective can be an extremely hard job for educators. No longer can your expect a stable career path with perhaps the slightest of job changes, instead, the average person passes through at least 7 very different careers during their life. Moreover, with new fields of work constantly being created, there is a large demand for people with the right qualifications and skills (Kalantzis 1998). Finding the right people with such skills can be a hard task, unless educational institutions such as schools, tafes and universities are continually updating the subjects they teach and their teaching methods (Dusseldorp 1998).

Along with changing careers is technology, the most rapidly developing resource on the planet. According to...

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