A Retrospective View Of Our Schools

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A Retrospective View of Our Schools In Jane Tompkins, A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned, Jane uncovers flaws in the American education system and how poorly formal education prepares pupils for careers after schooling. She describes how her teachers at P.S. 98 used authority to form the person she is now, teaching at Duke. Her experience dabbling in alternative teaching methods established the path she took throughout her career. Although Tompkins experience is atypical of most students, I agree with her argument about how fear is a successful means of motivation for those that can succumb to it, but alternatives exist that have been demonstrated and are successful. Tompkins describes how authority drove her to success throughout her grade school year’s using vivid imagery. Authority was used to as fear to scare her into success. Her view of her memories produced from fear is described as “negative” and “painful” (25). She reconciles her view of these negative memories by recognizing that she possibly tainted her memories with her own view. Here, Tompkins recognizes how monumental of an effective approach to authority had on her childhood and tries to rationalize her previous experience with her current views of teaching in her professional career (25-26). My own experience in grade school left me without respect for instructors who use fear to motivate their students. A few of my teachers abused this authority in a way that kept me behind the curve of the class. They did this by keeping us out of a creative role over our own teaching, quite unlike Thompkins’ highly successful course Reading for Yourself. The majority of my schooling experiences left a positive mark on me, however, a few specific teachers of mine were si... ... middle of paper ... ...hibited an internal experience different from mainstream students, however, I agree her argument for fear as a motivator is effective, and her experience teaching a class run by the students was successful. The power of fear is effective at promoting an environment where students can flourish, however, it can be damaging if used incorrectly by instructors. Establishing a logical method of grading, such as objective multiple choice exam, and a class size where the instructors doesn’t know each students, is a potential way to solve this dilemma that is already in use in larger institutions. Transitioning to a classroom run by the students is quite possibly the best way to run a classroom. This is true because high-achieving academic success must originate from within a pupil, and is quite difficult to enforce externally using reward or coercive techniques such as fear.
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