what is education

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What is education? What are the challenges facing those who provide it? Education is a crucial part of life, it influences the way people think, speak, talk, write and react to the world around them. However, education is much more than just an influence, it is a part of life itself. Throughout the past century, education has dramatically called upon change and variation, with new technology, science, and both ethical and cultural values making way. Hence, education can really only be defined by its time and place. This means that as educators, we need to continually update our qualifications and skills to be in equilibrium with the constant changes that are happening around us, which is a challenge all educators face (Dusseldorp 1998). Functionalism is the idea that there should be an even balance in society, which is achieved through the various roles played by the different parts of society (Walker & Loughland 2001). This idea is based on the ideals that everyone in society has a role to play, and everyone also has an equal chance to play each role. But instead, it can clearly be seen that education has otherwise been used as a sorting mechanism, ever since education became compulsory in 1880. McBurney-Fry (2002:6) states that one of the purposes of education is “to sort and distribute people into appropriate roles such as occupational hierarchies, employment and life chances.” It can easily be seen that this way of sorting is not always fair, but instead children are sorted into various groups, such as race, gender, cultural background, ethnicity, religion and academic ability, rather then providing equal opportunities for everyone. Therefore, educators need to teach a group of individuals rather than teaching a class of children. By not treating each child as an individual with different learning capabilities, the challenge of creating a fair chance for each child will never be met. Educational institutions should try their hardest to restore this balance, and provide an equal opportunity for each child for their futures to come. Kalantzis (1998) argued that one of the main objectives of education is to prepare young people for the world of employment, but through the continuous development of postFordism this objective can be an extremely hard job for educators. No longer can your expect a stable career path with perhaps the slightest of job c... ... middle of paper ... ...inity that make up school life, which can be created through the absence of sexes in certain school practises (Hayes & Lingard 2003). Such an example would include the role of males in a primary school, where the majority of males are cleaners, manual arts and sports teachers, or in high leadership positions. Together this contributes to the narrow construction of both masculinity and femininity. Undoubtedly, there is a need for more male teachers in the school environment, and this is a problem that needs to be addressed, but, schools need to work through this and prepare all children, both boys and girls, for their future employment and roles in society. In conclusion, the big challenge bought to educators is how to change schools and the classroom from being socially divisive and old-fashioned to becoming a place that promotes an even balance between work, leisure learning and equity between each child (Burnett et al. 2004) (McBurney-Fry 2002). We, as educators, need to focus on these individual needs of each child, and the class as a whole, and support them all no matter what religion, cultural background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or learning capabilities people have.

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