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Education has a pivotal role in modeling a child and creating a strong foundation to become an important aspect of creating society. When you are little, the only way you usually learn to work through issues is with siblings, cousins, or daycare or preschool friends. As you get older, education is important in learning life skills in relationships, working together, individuality and social learning which are all important components taught in school. Education is always changing with the media having a lot to do with education in 2014 . The media and technology such as the internet, computers and cell phones now has enabled students to be accessible to immense amounts of information at a moment’s notice. That has changed the entire dynamics of education and allowed for more outside information, both good and bad to come into play.
Academic self concept is important in education and helps to encourage students to achieve success in school, hopefully positive. ( Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).My niece is a perfect example of this. Her family recently moved her to a private school because she felt that she wasn’t given enough motivation and she is really excelling at her new school. She constantly wants to learn more and actually wants to take tests to see where she is on the scale and that motivates her to want to do better. Her reciprocal relationship with herself and her success in school is why her motivation to keep doing better is the reason why she does so well in school and I believe will inevitably get her to her goal to become a college math professor like her father ( I only wish I had as much motivation as she has!).
The experiment from Rosenthal and Jacobson , Pygmalion in the Classroom had astounding results which were a bit upsetting to me. The fact that this teacher actually treated the “above-average” students better by giving them more positive feedback and focus and a chance to answer in class and to get more time is both unfair and shows the impact of stereotyping. If this were the case, then many teachers may think that certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans were actually a waste of time to teach and therefore aren’t even given a chance to thrive. What if a child is a slow learner and may not “get it as fast” when they are younger. If a teacher decides they aren’t worth the time then that child may never live to their full potential. This, in my opinion, does show where expectations of the teachers may impact their performance, academically. In doing so, the self-fulfilling prophecy occurs because what a teacher expects of a student impacts how much time and effort they put into a student and that student is affected exponentially. The student may feel that they don’t matter or that they can’t do anything and therefore may not try or their self-concept will be lessened. This may be one reason why African American‘s don’t do as well in school.
A correlation exists between getting rid of poverty by educating our citizens. With education comes the availability to make more money and increase their quality of living. Education gives individuals a choice and en powers them to organize and manage their life and the lives of others. One of my favorite movies is from Dangerous Minds whose main character, Louanne Johnson, played by Michelle Pfeiffer is a small petit ex-marine who breaks the stereotype of a fragile pretty girl whose ways to encourage students to want to learn to better themselves. These students from a tough inner city school who most teachers considered the “class from Hell” just needed someone to actually care what they were doing with their lives. While some of her techniques might have been over-the-top, these students were tough and needed and extra push because of years of neglect from many of the other teachers. This teacher taught the students that they must be responsible for themselves even if there are factors which may limit them, there is still an option to overcome obstacles which in this case, were socioeconomic status. There are many issues with education that stand as obstacles such as rooms which are overcrowded, lack of up-to-date textbooks and supplies so many rigorous rules set in place. If there is nothing on and you are searching for something that is both inspiring and uplifting, take the time to watch it on You Tube.
The 1968 experiment with Ms. Elliot was both surprising and very interesting ( Frontline, 1985). I believe that this experiment gave light to how easily discrimination could be lessened or eradicated if we taught our children at a very young age what discrimination and stereotyping really is. I know myself included, I tend to learn a lot more when I participate in something versus when I just hear it. I thought it was interesting how some fourteen years later, they all met back up and described how this affected their futures, not just then, but when they became adults. One girl was speaking about how the class experiment stuck with her and that she saw black people as people who may look differently, but are the same. When she said she hugged a black man, she got stares and looks of apprehension, but she didn’t care. One little boy learned that when he did punch his little friend in the stomach because he didn’t wear a collar, he learned that violence is unnecessary because it’s not like he felt better doing it. And when the “shoe was on the other foot” it didn’t feel good to feel like an “outcast.” These children were remarkable in that little 3rd graders learned in two days a valuable lesson that just because we look different on the outside doesn’t mean we are any different on the inside. When the experiment was over, there were feelings of happiness and laughter from all the children when they decided to come back as one group and throw away the collars. One little boy tore his to shreds, symbolic of tearing down racism and hatred.
I believe that an important intervention to discrimination or stereotyping is exposure to different cultures and environments. The experiment of 1968 clearly showed how impactful discrimination can become when individuals are separated into groups where one group is “supposed” to be superior to the other. Education is one of the most important components to shaping an individual and therefore there needs to be a constant emphasis on altering and improving education to fit the time. As many of us are familiar with cutbacks in education from eliminating art and music classes and taking away sports and even my nieces and nephews don’t have bus transportation at their disposal because of the lack of funding for schools. Education is something that I think we all take for granted because many other countries can’t even educate their students or supplies don’t even include simple things that we take for granted like books, papers, pencils, etc. Education is used every day in some way. Children are our future and education is an important component to their success!
Frontline. (1985). A Class Divided. Retrieved online at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2005). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. SAGE Publications.