Our Roles in Education
Today I wanted to take some time and touch on an important element of society; education. Specifically, I wanted to address the various roles that exist in each sphere of identity in terms of education, and how best those roles can be fulfilled.
With the school year beginning this week for many people around North America, routines are beginning as the summer-time mentality draws to a close. Parents are relishing the “free” time they inherit with a new school year beginning, while hundreds of thousands of children begin their arduous journey of ‘downloading’ the information and data their society deems important to transfer.
Most people call this transfer “learning”, though I would contend that not many parents (or teachers for that matter) really understand or respect the social responsibility and developmental importance of being a source of learning for their children, regardless of the age.
Also, the students themselves may not have a proper understanding or attitude towards learning, and how they are teachers themselves.
So in an attempt to remedy this, here are some thoughts and ideas to assist both parents, educators, and students alike, embody their functions more thoroughly, holistically, and hopefully, joyously.
The Role of Student
Let’s begin with a closer look at the role of the student. Now, this role is tricky because it has both inherent and contextual elements that need to be addressed. First, we are all inherent learners. What I mean is that, without training or trying, we are always learning.
From the media to the examples set by the persons in our family, community, and so on, we are constantly ‘downloading’ information and data, which shapes the foundations of our perspectives, world-views, and beliefs.
The inherent nature of learning can be built on and evolved, and this is accomplished through the contextual nature of learning which occurs in the various environments and modes of transference [or the mediums by which a student is taught such as verbal, observation, and reflection].
A very important element in the development of one’s inherent learning capacity is the student’s attitude and intention. I personally feel that focus towards these two elements is severely lacking in mainstream educational systems [as well as in the home], so lets zero in on how we can best assist our growing students in these two important area’s.
A students attitude and intention are elements which directly influence one’s capacity to download information and coherently understand said information. The start of a students day and I mean within the first 30 minutes of waking, usually determine the trend of a person’s attitude and intention towards the day, so it is very important to be directly involved in this process from an early age.
If you are a student in later grades (4 and above), much of the responsibility for this falls in your lap. With the help of your parents, develop of a morning routine that provides fertile soil for you to have a productive and happy day. This is a combination of a healthy breakfast, mental preparation such as meditation or contemplation, and setting a clear intention.
Pay Attention to Intention
Parents and teachers need to put a lot of attention towards establishing a clear intention for their children at an age prior to starting school. This will assist them in maintaining a positive attitude and emotional relationship towards going to school and dealing with the inherent stresses and possible conflicts which will arise.
We are ALWAYS learning and we are ALWAYS learning about ourselves.
Furthermore, you are not just a student. You are also a teacher. You are teaching just as often as you are learning, and as you enter the “we space” of society and school, you are teaching through your words and actions. This goes as far as how you demonstrate your own attitude and intention to other students. Bear this in mind as you set your intention and focus your attitude each day.
The Role of Parent
We are going to shift the focus to the parents. Being a parent myself, I have learned first hand that the years leading up to when my child enters the school system, is the time we can spend preparing them for the journey. We can start as soon as we bring them home from the hospital, with thoughts, words, and actions which convey happiness, safety, encourage curiosity and exploration, and kindness to others.
As they grow ready to enter school, we want them to understand what they are responsible for when it comes to their learning and teaching. Again, I must emphasize the importance that learning and teaching co-arise and are not mutually exclusive. We teach what we wish to learn.
The most powerful tool a parent can utilize when assisting their child with learning is through demonstrating the acceptance of what they are responsible for as individuals. Teaching our children about attitude and intention through demonstration is a key method in transferring these skills to them.
The question I am facing right now through my role as a parent, with a child entering high school, is how much should I be involved in his day to day routines?
At this age, there is a great need for independence and freedom, for the child to have the birth to make their own decisions and deal with the effect of those decisions. However, I feel there is a social responsibility that falls on the shoulders of parents to ensure that the margins for decisions fall in line with what is socially acceptable, and educationally pragmatic.
Having an open line of communication with your child is of great importance. Creating a relationship with your child so that they feel comfortable and safe to come to you when certain decisions seem difficult or complicated is a major way we can remain an integral element in the child’s future development.
Also, I feel as parents, we need to be directly involved with the teachers and education system itself so that we remain aware of what type of environment [both interior/culture and exterior/enviroment] our children are entering into every day. A more intimate relationship with the educational system would be of great benefit to the system overall.
The Role of Teacher
There is a lot of different factors and elements that play a part in a teacher’s experience and career. They are, for the most part, limited in what they can teach by the confines of any given curriculum, as well as the influences of the particular political climate in which they exist.
However, this does not handicap a teachers capacity to be a demonstration of learning for their students. As teachers in the formal sense, you are in a position to have a direct impact on several dimensions of a students experience including their attitude and intention, to using tools in conflict resolution, and the altitude of their decision making.
I have always thought that the primary role of a formal teacher is not to transfer information or what to learn but to facilitate a students growth and capacity in how to learn. Understanding that our journey of learning [and teaching] never ends, having a student end their career of formal education equipped with the best tools available to assist them in being good and happy learners [and subsequently, good and happy teachers] is the real goal of the entire enterprise.
Above all, with the entirety of the human experience, the attitude should be level with gratitude, curiosity, and joy and the intention in harmony with peace of mind and being a peaceful person.
I hope this article offers something of value to your understanding. Many blessings to all students, parents, and teachers!