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Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper: Finding the X-factor


Marishel Diaz
Colorado State University
Meta-Reflection:
My first draft answer to the course umbrella questions differs in my understanding of the
purpose of schooling in the United States and in my understanding of the existing order. Over the
course of the semester, I learned that the purpose of schooling has changed over the years. In the
past, the focus was more on forming politically and socially aware individuals so that they could
understand their duties and know their rights as citizens. Today, the purpose is, simply, to teach
students the skills required to succeed in the future. I thought the purpose of schooling in the
United States was to teach students the content of the subject area they were studying. After this
course however, I realized that that is not the purpose of schooling in the United States. America
is a demanding society and, if you fall behind, you struggle to succeed in the future. Moreover, I
was not aware of the footprint that history had created in the existing order. America is a society
that has been taught to allow the privileged to succeed and oppress the rest. I was aware that the
rich and the white were privileged but I was not aware of the disadvantages the non-white
experienced and how it affected their future. Over the course of the semester I also learned how
crucial it is to be aware of the cultural differences that exist among students and how important it
is to let them know that you, as a teacher and individual of the education system, respect and
understand where they are coming from. Moreover, I learned about the importance of a
dialogical pedagogy and how it can positively impact the classroom. Being a part of this course
was eye opening and very exciting. I believe that it is crucial for future teachers to understand all
of these concepts so that we can apply them in our classroom and help form outstanding students
who later on become citizens of the real world.

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

Based on what I learned over the course of the semester, I believe that the purpose of
schooling in the United States was founded by Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson is best
known for creating the Declaration of Independence, he also created a bill in Virginia that would
establish free schools. Jefferson sought for the purpose of education to teach all children how to
read and write so that they could apply and utilize these skills in the real world (Segarra, 2013, p.
1). He believed that, if an American knew how to read and was taught about the history of his/her
country, then he/she would become a more educated citizen and judge the best way to vote.
Moreover, if the government were to infringe on his/her liberties, an educated citizen would be
able to express and defend him/herself (Segarra, 2013, p. 1). Overall, Jefferson wanted liberty
and happiness for all and he believed that this could be accomplished through learning selfgovernment, self-reliance, courage, responsibility and moderation; virtues that form a selfgoverning citizen (Segarra, 2013, p. 1).
I believe that, in the past, the purpose of schooling in the United States was to teach
children the morals and the faculties that are instrumental to securing life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness. With that purpose, individuals would be able to understand their duties and know
their rights.
Today, the purpose of schooling in the United States is, I believe, to solely teach children
the skills and the abilities that are required in order to succeed in the real world. I think that the
real world encompasses a different meaning than it did before. Back then, it encompassed more
of a political and social education so that individuals could understand their duties and know
their rights as citizens. Today, the purpose of schooling is to educate children so that they can
obtain a college education and have a successful future. If children do not acquire the skills

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

required to succeed in the real world, they fall behind and struggle to make it to college and have
a successful future. An example of this is students who are placed in the tracking system.
Students that are a part of this system experience teaching and learning disparities (Futrell &
Gomez, 2008, p. 78). They are students that are separated from their peers by academic ability
within a school but nonetheless, are expected to meet the same scores as their classmates.
Consequently, this negatively impacts their future. Socially, it sets them aside from an exclusive
track, in which a small group of students are actively prepared for academic success (Futrell &
Gomez, 2008, p. 76). Academically, it places them in an unprivileged track, in which the
majority of the students are not expected to excel and receive little support or opportunity to
pursue their academic goals (Futrell & Gomez, 2008, p. 76).
Additionally, education today revolves around a monological pedagogy in which the
teacher is presumed to have the monopoly on knowledge and expertise (Balboa & Marshall,
1944, p. 24). The absence of dialogue educates students to be silent, have little interest in what
they are doing and why it is important for them to learn the information that they are assigned.
Therefore, I believe that the primary purpose of schooling in the United States should be to have
a dialogical pedagogy instead of a monological pedagogy. A dialogical pedagogy is a process
that allows peoples voices to develop and be heard, to transform social relations in the
classroom, and to raise awareness about relation in society at large (Balboa & Marshall, 1944,
p. 25). Furthermore, the purpose of schooling in the United States should be to teach students not
only the skills but the content and the material of the subject area that they are studying. This
would help them become educated citizens of both the classroom and the real world. Lastly,
schools should also teach children what it means to not only learn but understand the material
that they are learning. Helping them understand the benefits of being educated as well as

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

teaching them the skills that are required to be successful will create outstanding citizens of both
the classroom and the real world.
My role as a future teacher in fulfilling that purpose is to help my students develop and
identify their intellectual capacity so that they can have a successful future. I would like to cater
to the different learning styles that students have so that I can meet their needs and help them
reach their potential. Moreover, my classes would consist of a dialogical pedagogy where
students voices are heard, where students are motivated and interested in what they are doing
and where they know why it is important for them to learn the information that they are assigned.
Moreover, as a future teacher, I have to be conscious and aware of not being gender bias
and respecting the cultural differences that each student brings to the classroom. Gender bias is
quite a problem in todays classrooms but teachers are unaware of it. The article Gender Bias:
From Colonial America to Todays Classrooms explains that boys get more teacher attention than
girls. This is due to the fact that boys demand attention; they are more likely to shout out
questions and answers, and end up dominating the classroom airwaves. However, when boys call
out, teachers are likely to accept their comments (Sadker & Sadker, 2001, p.140). By contrast,
when girls call out, teachers are more likely to reprimand them by saying things like, In this
class, we raise our hands before talking (Sadker & Sadker, 2001, p.140).
I strongly believe that, as a future teacher, I should achieve equity in how I treat and teach
female, male, and GLBT students. Not only would I like for my classroom to offer intellectual
development to students but a sense of caring and compassion, forgiveness and loving kindness
as well, the values that seem to be lacking in the Western educational system (Lama, 1999 ,p.
87).

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

I like to think of the existing order as the cycle of life. For example, when a child reaches
a certain age, the child goes to school, learns, goes to college, if he/she didnt fall behind in
school and was able to acquire the necessary tools to have a successful future, then he/she gets a
job, and forms a life of their own.
Schooling continues the existing order by shaping an individuals academics and persona,
overall education. Such order is under rules, laws, and codes that are to be followed. These allow
for individuals to learn who can and cannot succeed in society and teaches those who can, how to
succeed. Schooling also continues the existing order by benefiting the privileged; white people
are on top and the existing order is set up to keep them there. The same applies for rich, upper
class, straight, men. Any privileged majority identities are at the top of the order and society
doesnt give anyone who is lower in the order a chance to move up.
In the chapter Privilege, Power and Difference, Alan G. Johnson, explains what it means
to belong and not belong to the privileged group and what the effects of this are. He defines
difference as the possession or lack of power and privilege (12). Johnson makes it clear that
this problem is not one that our current society has created, but rather one that has been inherited
for us to deal with. This shows that the problem is not diversity but how the social order is
arranged around it; it is the dominating group who defines what is normal. Schooling
continues the existing order by benefiting the privileged and exposing the rest to disadvantages
and oppression.
I dont think schooling transforms the existing order; it just remains a part of it, keeping it
constant. The only way schooling could transform the existing order is if we lived in a culture
that recognized differences like race as significant but, as Johnson explains, they are socially
irrelevant and therefore, in a way, do not exist (17). Schooling makes, of those who have the

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

opportunity to be a part of it, better individuals both professionally and personally. Schooling can
look to form better individuals so that they can live in a better society by transforming the
existing order.
In conclusion, it can be said that schooling, education, and the existing order form our
society. If it werent for those three key components, we would live in a truly chaotic society and
there would be little room for personal improvement. Students, nor any individual for that matter,
would find it tough to find success. Throughout this course and via my interactions at Preston
Middle School, Ive constantly asked myself which X-factor will ultimately lead me to becoming
a teacher that has a direct, positive impact on my students. Ive now realized, in a clearer way,
that there seems to be a flaw, not in the intent, but in the delivery of many a teachers throughout
the entire schooling system. This being that the main goal is for students to complete an
assignment and move on to the next vs. cultivating the skills required to really grasp and
understand the foundations behind any given task leading to a deeper and more profound
education. It is my goal and my hope that I am able to positively impact my students thru a
dialogical pedagogy all whilst establishing a caring environment in which the student has as
many a tool available in order to succeed.

Purpose of Schooling Final Paper

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References

Banks, J. (1996). Multicultural education, transformative knowledge, and action: Historical and
contemporary perspectives. New York: Teachers College Press.
Fernandez-Balboa, J., & Marshall, J. (n.d.). Dialogical Pedagogy In Teacher Education: Toward
An Education For Democracy. Journal of Teacher Education, 172-182.
Hatwood, M., & Gomez, J. (2008). Special Topic / How Tracking Creates a Poverty of Learning.
Educational Leadership, 65(9), 74-78.
Johnson, Allan G. Privilege, Power, and Difference. N.p.: n.p., 2005. 13-40. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
Lama, D. (1999). The Heart Of Learning. Spirituality in Education, 85-95.
Segarra, E. (2013, April 14). 18th Century Advice: Thomas Jefferson on Education
Reform. The Daily Signal. Retrieved December 14, 2014, from
http://dailysignal.com/2013/04/14/18th-century-advice-thomas-jefferson-oneducation-reform/