Monthly Archives: September 2016

Ethical Issues in Education

Education is a novel pursuit and imparting education is even more so. However, there are certain ethical issues in education that must be kept in mind and pondered upon from time to time to assess the real value that is being added to society via the media of education.

Indeed, education is an ongoing process. We are always receiving and passing it on, adding something in the process, sometimes even taking certain things, impertinent from time to time, away from it while passing it on further. However, the industry of education is a serious one, requiring well-defined ethics and values, well-bound in visible legal outlines to regulate its exchange and distribution. Let us take a brief look at some of the most common issues of ethics in education.

List of Ethical Issues in Education
Following are some of the most common moral, legal and ethical concerns in education that are most often faced by the givers and receivers of education, along with the education institutes, management thereof and, sometimes, parents and guardians of students.

Educational Resources With Respect to Special Education
The passing of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 by the Federal Government marked the first milestone in special education of children with disabilities. Prior to this act, handicapped children had no other recourse but to attend general public schools and curriculum which were not appropriate given their special requirements.

Post this act, funds were given to states for the development of educational curricula for children with disabilities and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1975, made available to all handicapped children between 3 years and 21 years of age the right to a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Choice of Teacher
The eternal contention between a principal and the parents regarding which teacher the child in question should be assigned to the following year is one of the major moral issues in education. There are two, very predictable outcomes to this debate – either the principal uneasily resigns to parental logic or the former evade the latter’s request by making a blanket statement saying it is not in school policy to honor parents’ opinion as far as choice of teaching faculty goes.

School Uniforms – Should They be Made Compulsory?
As is generic to every controversy, this one also has two sides to it. Arguments in favor of imposing uniforms observe what the lack of a uniform dress code has done to school campuses nationwide – immodest piercings, provocative or too casual attire, outrageous hair colors and styles, etc. Advocates against imposing school uniform argue that clothing has no effect, whatsoever, on education and what one wears to school has no bearing on what is taught at school.

Also, state the latter, it is not necessary that all students are able to afford a uniform – would they be denied education for want of a uniform? A happy mid path between these two school uniform debates could be to enlist a strict dress code, enumerating what NOT to wear at school, failing to follow which would invite fine or suspension. This is better than either imposing a complete compulsion of school uniforms in public schools or holding a way too liberal stance on what to wear at school.

Discipline Issues
To put it in short, it is the age-old zero tolerance policy vs. give-em-another chance policy. Both policies should work side-by-side in all educational or other institutes. Zero tolerance policies should be imposed upon aggressive and anti-social and behavioral in-disciplinary actions such as bullying and carrying firearms to institutes.
Second-chance policies may be used to encourage better academic performance and instill the habit to try harder the next time. The opportunities, however, should not be kept unlimited for the same default by the same individual. Giving second chances does not translate into spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child attitude!

Addressing Diversity
With students from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds seeking admissions in schools today, the issue of whether or not to address diversity poses a serious question. Racial inequality and ethnic differences have been an issue in public schools since the time public schools were founded. The foremost step towards addressing diversity in schools should come from the curriculum itself.

Involving different ethnic sports and multicultural festivals at schools would mark the beginning of an attempt to combine students from diverse backgrounds into a bond of institutional unity. Moreover, including prominent historical annals derived from different ethnicity as part of a collective study of world history would encourage students to get familiar with each others’ racial, cultural and ethnic differences.

Grading – Linking Parameters with Purpose
What do grades reflect? Rather, what should grades reflect? Should they just cover the academics? Then again, what, in academics should they reflect? Should grades be considered for assessing learning capabilities, information grasping prowess, discipline in meeting academic deadlines or all of these? Then again, should failure by a student to live up to these standards be considered as laxity on the student’s part or should it be blamed upon the incompetency of the teacher?

Should class participation be considered in overall grading? If so, then wouldn’t that kill the idea of respecting the individuality of shier or quieter students who may be equally good (maybe better) at academics as their more outgoing counterparts? An unbiased standardization of the grading system would require careful consideration of all angles of these queries and dilemmas to arrive at an objective conclusion that leaves no room for ambiguity.

Besides the above mentioned ethical issues in education, there are other noteworthy issues – teacher evaluation, sex education, value education, tracking and random drug tests in campuses – that prevail surrounded by controversy. Each of these issues require fine scrutiny and deep understanding but even then, there would always be that “depends upon the situation” factor that would decide which way the verdict rests.

Educational Psychology

Psychology is the study of human psyche and mind wherein the mental processes and behavior is analyzed and a relationship is established in the functioning and working of the brain and the influence of daily incidents of life on the functioning. Psychology gives a concrete shape to feelings and it is approached scientifically. Psychology handles with the concept of emotion, personality, concentration, memory, attentiveness and relationships with other people. Nowadays Psychology is considered as an applied science than a mere theory, which was the perception of many conservative thinkers previously. Now psychology is split into specialized divisions of study like prenatal psychology, child psychology, educational psychology, social psychology, industrial psychology and many more which help in understanding the problem related to a specific field and its solution. Here we will discuss educational psychology, which is relevant in today’s competitive world where there is immense pressure on everybody to prove him or herself.

What is Educational Psychology?

Educational psychology, as the name suggests, deals with the education of humans and the various aspects like the conditions in which the effectiveness can be enhanced. Various schools and colleges appoint Psychologists so that they can better the environment, the style, syllables and enhance the intake of knowledge by the students. Educational Psychologists also determine the contents of a syllabus since they can analyze the necessary and unnecessary parts of the same.

What is the scope of Educational Psychology?

This field is vast as it deals with the behavioral and social development of an individual. It also helps in the structuring of individual perspective, which in turn leads to the development individualities ad personality traits. Educational Psychology states that the development of the human brain can be traced and classified in four stages, which are levels of the child’s relationship with the surroundings. In these four stages a child develops cognitive abilities and social understanding. These four stages also determine the abilities of creativity, intelligence, morality and motivation in a child. This field also studies the much-debated Heredity versus Environment aspect of a child’s mental and behavioral development. There are instances when children of the same class have varied levels of understanding regarding a concept; in this case educational psychology aims to analyze the reason for the difference.

Educational psychology defines the primary and secondary needs of a child and provides him or her effective methods of learning so that the learned content is registered in the memory of the child. Creativity is also one aspect which is dealt with in this field, and the latter encourages the development of the former. A school should definitely have an educational psychologist to ensure the all round development of its students motivating them, guiding them and counseling them in regular intervals. It has been observed that the use of educational psychology helps enhance the power of observation, understanding, listening, responding and application.

Uses of Computers in Education

Computers have become an inseparable part of our lives to a great extent. Particularly in the field of education, their uses are manifold. Let us understand them further.

Over the years, computers have changed the way the world works. They have proved to be an asset not only for the corporate sector, but also in other sectors such as medicine, architecture, communication, research, sports and education. Speaking of which, computers have taken over the field of education, bringing over its influence in every possible manner. These very machines, which were once used only in research laboratories and government offices have now become a common sight in schools across the world. Today, computers have touched the lives of several students living in the remotest part of our planet, be it directly or otherwise.

There is no denying the fact that computers completely rule the life of an average student in any corner of the world, be it in the form of hand-held devices, or printed textbooks (thanks to the use of computers in printing). What follows are some instances of the utility of computers in education.

e-Learning Gets Real
Let’s begin with stating the obvious. Without computers, learning would be restricted within the walls of institutions, and nothing could possibly be more unfair. Knowledge and education is empowering, and the best way to make is accessible to everyone is through computers. Working professionals, stay-at-home parents, senior citizens, even curious minds benefit from online education. e-Learning is accessible and affordable, not to mention extremely doable, be it a professional looking to hone his management skills or a college student wanting to learn a foreign language.

Making Knowledge Interesting
We all know how learning about the depth of the Mariana Trench in geography class can be a little dowdy for young children. However, by introducing the audio-visual method of learning, computers have made education interesting. As communication systems enhance, education will change for better – computers will make our children more curious, knowing that the answers to their questions are at hand.

Bringing the World Closer
Computers are shrinking our world, and from what we’re seeing, it appears to be a mixed bag. While social networking is a boon for those who wish to use it to expand their academic horizons, it does come with implications. But, focusing on the positives of networking – it bonds people around the world, helping students reach out to scholars and vice versa, making connectivity worthwhile.

Presenting Creative Options
With all the creative software at hand, it has become easy for students to jazz up their assignments and projects; basically, assignments have become activities that students look forward to, from their earlier mundane form. From a higher perspective, the usage of computers in aiding learning is prominent in almost every field, from botanical sciences to fine arts.

Being a Source of Knowledge
The internet is now what once used to be the library. What’s more, it is easier to access, along with being a convenient and fairly reliable source of information. With bulky computers now being popularly reduced to hand-held devices, students literally have information at their fingertips. Again, free knowledge that is easily available does have its pitfalls, but looking at the larger picture, it is definitely more beneficial.

Reducing Paperwork
Computers have more or less eliminated paperwork in the administration section of education. Thanks to websites, we can do away with printing brochures, application forms, admission and other administrative documents, resulting in procedures that are cost-effective and environment friendly. Tests have also become online, making assessment procedures easy for teachers and professors.

There is no questioning the impact of computers in education; their usage has completely revolutionized the way education is imparted, received, communicated and processed. In the years to come, more changes are expected, changes that will further refine the field of education.

Home Education In Town For Children

What are you looking for? Primarily, it is important to recognize what you and your children need and want from a group. Are you looking for purely social session or would you like the group fulfill some of your child’s education? Will you want to involve experts from the local community to give talks and workshop? Most parents want a group that meet the need of their children, to  make learning into a fun and joyful family experience.

And here are some tips to raise a hom education in town:

Link up with others. Connect with other home educators in the area to find out if they are interested in the group that you are starting up. Start with like minded families who can provide support during the early stages. Even if it’s just one other home educating family that you regularly go on trips with, it can be a great experience for you all.

Organize yourselves. Once you have a group of interested individuals get together to talk about your plans. You can take steps to ensure that everyone’s needs and wishes for the group are heard   by using a talking stick. This can be passed around for everyone to share their views. Alternatively, ask interested parents to formulate their thoughts and needs on paper beforehand and bring them to the meeting.

Where to hold it. Home education groups are often held in community spaces such as church halls but you may want to start small and host the first sessions at someone’s house. It is important to set some ground rules, especially if meeting at a member’s house. Things such as areas that are out of bounds, noise levels and respect for one another are rules that you may like to set. When we met in the park we didn’t have a set of rules but when the weather turned colder and we found a community Centre to meet in every week, we set out some boundaries. The children we came up with these during the brainstorming session and they ranged from the sensible.

Set responsibilities. Encourage the members of your group to identify their strengths and play to them. For example, one member might be very good at making a whiz websites for education and  essay writing service and be able to set you up a website for your group. Allow each member to feel like a vital part of the functioning of the group, making for a stronger more cohesive whole.