Teachers Schools and Society Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2362 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Teachers, Schools and Society

Different ways of learning, exceptional and gifted and talented learners, student diversity, financing and governing American schools, student life in school and at home, curriculum standards and testing, and today's classroom all affect teachers, schools and society. To further explore these effects, each of these issues will be briefly described, with an explanation of the reason each poses a concern. The implications for improving each issues will also be presented.

Different Ways of Learning:

The multiple intelligences theory states that there are eight different ways individuals perceive and understand the world, solve problems and learn. These include: verbal/linguistic learners, logical/mathematical learners, visual/spatial learners, bodily/kinesthetic learners, musical/rhythmic learners, interpersonal learners, intrapersonal learners, and naturalist learners (Bakic-Miric, 2010). Oftentimes, students are a variety of these learning types, making each student's learning style unique to the individual.

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Verbal learners respond to the meaning of words. Logical learners learn most effectively with step-by-step directions. Visual learners need visual stimulation to learn most effectively. Bodily learners benefit from physical movement and activity when learning. Music and songs can facilitate learning for musical learners. Interpersonal are social learners who perform well in groups. Intrapersonal learners, in contrast, learn best when studying independently. Lastly, naturalist learners can use the patterns of nature to better learn new material. This understanding that there are different ways of learning means there isn't one system of teaching that fits all students.

TOPIC: Research Paper on Teachers Schools and Society Assignment

By fully understanding that the learning styles of each student are unique, improvments can be made in the ways materials are taught. Instead of simply providing step-by-step instructions for logical learners, or showing examples on a board for visual learners, a variety of methods can be used for the same lesson. Activities that involve physical activity or rhymes can be incorporated in these more traditional methods of teaching, to facilitate a wider variety of learners and reiterate lessons to students who are more traditional learners.

Exceptional and Gifted and Talented Learners:

Exceptional and gifted and talented learners are typically identified by three types of characteristics: their general behavior, their ability to learn and their creative characteristics. Many gifted students have a talent for reading and have large vocabularies. They often learn basic skills more quickly than their peers and have an ability to conceive abstract ideas. Gifted children are often intuitive, having an innate ability to pick up on non-verbal cues from others. These students often have a love for learning, with a willingness to try new things and are highly inquisitive. Gifted learners are more likely to see cause-effect relationships than their peers, as well as understand the principles that underlie a situation. A student may be gifted in one subject or across multiple subjects.

Koshy, Ernest and Casey (2009) note that for decades there has been a growing understanding that there are special educational needs of gifted students. In the past, it was mistakenly believed that able students can take care of themselves. More recently, it has been understood that gifted students have a lot to offer future society, and therefore should have their talents developed as fully as possible.

Gifted and talented programs not only give these students cognitive challenges, but also experiences that enhance their attitudes and their motivation. Improving gifted and talented programs can lead to positive motivation to increase efforts in school for these students. They've been shown to motivate students to choose more cognitively demanding tasks, as well as increase the effort and work students put into their studies. As achievements continue, this "enhances positive attitudes, completing the success cycle and giving it more momentum" (Koshy, Ernest & Casey, 2009, p. 213).

Student Diversity:

Student diversity is a buzz term heard across the United States. It acknowledges that students today are not a homogenous lot. They come from different ethnic backgrounds, different religions, and in the higher education setting can include different ages. Diversity also includes students with disabilities, whether they be physical, mental or learning. Embracing and understanding these differences is critical to developing curriculum and teaching strategies that effectively meet the unique needs of an increasingly diverse student population.

The challenge with the increasing student diversity lies in the seemingly contradictory nature of the current movement in the educational world. Instead of diversified instruction to meet the diverse needs of students, "curriculum and instruction have become more regimented and stringently aligned with high stakes tests" (Skerrett, 2009, p. 277). As a result, culturally and linguistically marginalized groups are increasingly overrepresented in the lower tracks.

Standardized tests does not necessarily mean standardized education. Improving educational strategies to take into account the diversity of the student population will help correct the trend of those in cultural minorities increasingly being represented in the lower ranks of the standardized testing. To ensure all students get the best education possible, the cultural, racial, age, and disabilities uniqueness of each student must be taken into consideration.

Financing American Schools:

The financing and governing of American schools varies by state and by school district within each state. Funding typically comes from three sources: state, local and federal funding. State funding can vary dramatically from state to state. In New Hampshire, the state provides approximately eight percent of school funding. This is in contrast to the 74% New Mexico provides for their schools. On average, states typically provide about 50% districts receive for their general budget. Local governments provide 44% of school funds, on average. Much of this money is garnered from local property taxes. The remaining six percent, on average, comes from contributions from the federal government. These funds are distributed as general funds, typically on a per-student basis, and categorical funds, for special programs and facilities. Again, expenditures per-student vary by state; however, nationwide spending ranges from $1,500 to $15,000 per child ("Financing," n.d.).

This disparity in spending causes a significant problem for American children. Schools with more budget per student are able to provide a greater diversity of programs, newer facilities, and better technology for their students. This gives them a greater educational advantage than their peers in schools with less funding. The result is often lower testing scores, lower graduation rates and lower percentages of students continuing their education past high school. As this disparity is often more evident in geographic regions with high percentages of lower-income families, who may also have other sociological challenges, the lower quality education can significantly affect these student's futures.

Although varying costs of living in different areas across the United States means simply establishing a per-student figure is not feasible. However, improving this situation will mean ensuring each students have equal access to school programs, facilities and technologies, despite the cost differences. This will help fix the disparities in testing scores due to unequal access to educational programs and tools.

Student Life in School and at Home:

Flook and Fuligni (2008) note that there are two primary contexts for adolescent development -- family and school. These two facets, and the events that occur within each setting, shape students lives. In fact, the experiences from one context influences the experiences of the other. This phenomena is referred to as spillover. Although this concept is most often applied to adult work stress and family experience, it is also relevant to student's family and school experiences. Previous research has shown that "children's daily social and academic failure experiences at school increased the likelihood of subsequent aversive interactions with parents at home" (p. 776). The same is true in reverse. Negative interactions at home, for students, can lead to trouble with academic performance at school.

This issue posers a concern because of the interrelated nature of these two facets of a student's life. In addition, the process can become a vicious circle for students. Poor academic performance can result in strained family relationships. These strained family relationships can then result in even more academic challenges, which then further strains the student's relationship with their parents. The cycle continues, feeding upon itself. Despite this interconnected nature, the two facets are also separate entities, and although one can't control the other, steps can be taken to counter troubles to help stop this cycle.

To improve this issue, teachers and schools should understand how a student's home and school lives are interrelated. In this way, should a dramatic change in academic performance be seen in a student teachers and schools can possibly investigate problems at home. Counselors can help talk to the children and see if there is anything they can do to help alleviate any problems the students may be having. Likewise, should a student display poor academic performance, teachers should be trained to give parent-teacher conferences that minimize the normally associated negative effect poor academic performance has on the family relationship. In this way, the continuing negative cycle can stop and the student can receive the academic help they need.

Curriculum Standards and Testing:

Curriculum standards was developed to ensure schools across a state all offered students a similar quality of education. Standardized testing was implemented as a means of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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