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Personal Education Platform
Deanna Boerstler
Bucknell University

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Education encompasses the first eighteen years of a child’s life. It can shape an
individual’s views of the world and change the direction in which one’s life is headed. The way
lessons are organized and the methods teachers use while teaching can also alter a student’s
personal beliefs. This is why education is so very important. Schools not only shape the
academic aspects of students’ lives, but also influence greater life choices they will make about
both their future and ours. Therefore, because schooling affects many aspects of life, adopting an
eclectic educational philosophy is ideal.
A student’s education should fulfill vital lifelong requirements by teaching practical life
skills. Upon graduating from high school, every student should be able to engage him/herself in
intellectual conversations and debates. They should have a well-rounded knowledge of many
academic subjects including the arts, cultures, politics, and current events. Additionally,
education should address issues of de facto segregation, white privilege, and cultural capital
through a progressive lens. This well-rounded education will allow students to approach the
world with an open mind and the ability to diplomatically approach situations. Once students
have gained a proper education, they should be able to enter the workforce knowledgeable of job
opportunities in a range of fields that not only will aid them in bettering themselves financially,
but also engage their personal interests and align with their moral beliefs.
Post high school graduation, every student should possess a proper basis of knowledge.
E. D. Hirsch defines a proper knowledge foundation as a knowledgeable student having at least a
general idea of many theories, dates, historical occurrences, prominent figureheads, and political
movements, as well as many other cultural necessities. The knowledge of these things does not
need to be extensive, but one must be able to recognize a reference and acknowledge its

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significance. Creating this fact pool will help students make well-informed decisions and lend
cultural capital.
Not only does learning offer a direct path to knowledge of academics, but it also helps
build necessary social skills that are critical to the advancement of persons in society. While
attending school, students should be exposed to others of many different races, cultures, and
socioeconomic backgrounds. It is absolutely necessary for the students to learn a healthy way to
engage with these varying persons. Students should learn from the example and direction of the
teacher and become tolerant and accepting of others who are different, be it by skin color or
intellect. Additionally, students should try to understand and empathize with others in order to
develop morals to take into the world outside of the classroom. Well educated students in these
principals would be able to hold scholarly conversations with any human being and not judge
any superficial aspects of their identity. However, these are not skills that can be gained through
social interaction alone. Teachers much promote these behaviors through specific lessons and
everyday actions. Through this aspect of education, equality can be encouraged outside of school
as well as within the classroom.
Teachers must recognize that every student is different with his/her own set of strengths
and weaknesses. Each student will present challenges that teachers must recognize and alter
teaching methods accordingly. Ideally, every student would aspire to gain as much knowledge in
as many subjects as possible. However, this is not a probable situation. Students likely come into
the educational system already on a predetermined path set by siblings, parents, or other
acquaintances. If students do not have any negative perceptions, they should be willing and open
to try all things offered and, in due time, find their own niche with encouraging support from
teachers. However, some students will already have negative preconceptions about certain

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things. Teachers must fight to overcome these prejudices so that students can find their true
passions.
How then should curriculum be chosen to properly shape the young, developing
students? E. D. Hirsch’s work suggests curriculum should be well-rounded and encompass a vast
amount of subjects and skills. Students should be exposed to everything and anything that the
school can fund. Only when these opportunities have been taken advantage of by the student,
will the student be able to make a wise decision of the interests he/she wishes to pursue in higher
education or the work force. Some subjects that should be taught include math, science, social
sciences, history, art, theatre, dance, physical activity, philosophy, vocational shops, and
healthcare. Upon gaining a basic knowledge in numerous fields, students will be able to make
educated decisions about their future. However, young students just entering the educational
system cannot be thrust into the expansive depth of these subjects. They must be introduced
slowly, beginning with basic concepts and then scaffold accordingly to build in complexity.
Upon gaining proficiency in baseline skills, the students would progress into more and more
subjects. Students should be offered the choice to “specialize” in a certain subject, but
encouraged to keep an open mind and pursue as many interests as possible.
In accordance with a varied curriculum, teachers must also keep an open mind for other
disciplines. Teachers should be encouraged to include links that weave in and out of
supplementary subjects and topics. Art teachers should be open and willing to assigning math
problems in aligned with projects and written essays addressing topics from class. These projects
should be graded as seriously as in a math or English class, therefore, encouraging all aspects of
literacy in all subjects. In other words, classes should not be confined to the perception of what
should be taught. Instead, they should reference all aspects of life. To encourage student’s

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involvement with the curriculum, open discussion forums should be utilized. This helps students
learn to develop and articulate their own opinions while still keeping an open mind to the
opinions of others. However, teachers must access their students’ needs and adapt their teaching
style accordingly. By utilizing many approaches that are appropriate for both student needs and
subject, the students will remain engaged, interested, and successful.
The teacher should be not only an educational resource but also a proper role model for
students. One should not engage in gossip about other students or teachers, nor should one dress
inappropriately. Teachers should be approachable for students, yet retain their authority. One
should always be professional, whether conversing with a student inside or outside of school.
One should also be personable while keeping their personal life and problems private. Teachers
should nurture students so that they feel safe, but as in any nurturing relationship, discipline must
not fall to the wayside.
These requirements of the teacher, apply also to the institution of the school. Students
should feel comfortable and accepted within their school, while still remembering that it is a
place of learning. Students should be encouraged to act professionally, because it is indeed their
job to learn and better themselves for their future. To create a truly well-rounded individual,
students should be urged to participate in extracurricular activities. These offerings should range
from team sports to civic engagements, each contributing its own unique set of skills. However,
most importantly, students should feel safe, free of judgment, and wanted while attending school.
Without a healthy environment for students, the best curriculum, instruction, teachers, and
institution mean nothing.
Of all the classrooms in a school, the art room is one of the most chaotic, unpredictable
environments. Art teachers must be adaptable. With so many uncontrollable factors influencing

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the art room such as budgets, pacing, and materials, what the teacher does control must be
thought out and executed well. Good, thoughtful instruction often revolves around proper time
management and knowing what can fit within the constraints of a period, a unit, and a marking
period. In order to allow for students to have creative freedom, teachers should strive to provide
students with excellent teaching practices but in a way that is not overwhelming or oversaturated.
Therefore, art teachers especially must be able to be flexible. If an element of a lesson or unit is
not working, one must be able to recognize that, evaluate why, and move onto a better approach.
Additionally, teachers must recognize that every student will have different artistic ideas ranging
from thinking art is frivolous to outrageous artistic concepts the teacher might have never
considered. Because of this, a teacher must be cautious with how situations are approached, and
students should be gently nudged towards advanced approaches to thinking and art. Most
importantly though, it is important to remember that education is also a learning experience for
teacher and students and proficiency and excellence will only come with time, practice, and
reflection.
In closing, a typical school day affects every aspect of a student’s life. Schooling should
provide students with a well-rounded education encompassing many subjects and cultures.
Teachers and the school itself are vital components to providing this knowledge basis. Teachers
must be open to all subjects and aspects of education, while the school must provide a nurturing
environment that emphasizes professionalism. This is indeed a lot to ask of one institution and
those who employ the curriculum, but it is not impossible. Students shape the world and our
future. By acknowledging that the smallest adjustments can make the largest impact, a vast
difference can be made for the better. Practicing high-quality teaching and developing well-

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rounded curriculum will ensure students become more knowledgeable and in turn, so will the
world.