On Education-Emerson

Topics: Education, Teacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson Pages: 5 (1896 words) Published: June 6, 2013
On Education: Conformism and the Individual
Imaging you are the only person at a concert; now imaging yourself surrounded by other who are just as enthusiastic about the concert as you are. One may give you a certain aspect of importance, while the other could make you feel like you belong to something bigger than yourself. The situation you prefer ultimately depends on your personality, that is to say, you as an individual. Present day America has become just that, a large gathering center for individuals from all corners of the globe; the great “melting pot of the world” to say the least. With all the diversity of unique talents, ideals, beliefs, and traditions that can be found outside one’s front-door step, a few questions arise: why is individualism not sought after and praised in today’s curriculum instead of being generalized into groups as one usually is? Likewise, is our current system of education preparing young minds to be conformists while slowly killing the individual? Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the foremost intellectuals of the nineteenth century, theorized about an education system structured around the importance of the individual as its main foundation. Emerson believed that “our modes of Education aim to expedite, to save labor; to do for the masses what cannot be done for masses, what must be done reverently, one by one: say rather, the whole world is needed for the tuition of each pupil”. To put it differently, he believed the pupil may benefit more from personalized curriculums than from an education system aimed to teach by the masses to save money, time, and labor. In my opinion, from seeing the problems with our current Education system, I feel partially inclined to agree with Emerson and his idea to distance the education system from “teaching by the masses” and focus more on the individual

For one, I firmly believe that today’s education system is more focused meeting the states standards and less focused on the student itself. The amount of standards an educator has to cover over the course of the year makes it nearly impossible to make individually customized teaching plans, thus the introduction of a curriculum in which everyone learns and works at the same pace. This can come at a steep price because although exposing every student to the same lesson demonstrates fairness and indiscrimination, it may also have negative repercussions on the young and inexperienced mind. In an education system like this, the individual is not valued because he is not seen as one student but generalized and group with other, whether it is by age or grade level. In the classroom for example, we are taught the basic knowledge context that everyone is expected to know, very rarely do we see any encouragement for those who want to dive in depth into a subject or personalized assistance for those who desperately need it. From my own experienced, I have always yearned to learn more about subjects I was interested in but if one cannot do that, then going to school becomes a chore. Statistics show that 8,300 high school students drop out each day (“High”). According to Buzzfeed, an online website, one of the top 5 reasons High School Students drop out is because they start finding classes uninteresting and the same can be said for college student. When the classes get dull they start centering their life’s around their jobs and eventually drop out to go in the pursuit of money. We have statistics and the reasons for the large amount of dropout backing up the fact that there is something wrong with today’s education system, yet appropriate measures to adjust the education system aren’t being made; the personal interest and curiosity of the student are not being met to inspire ones desire for knowledge. In addition to the lack of time, the reason for why individuality is not valued is due in part to the poor teacher-to-student ratio which does not do the creative mind just. Everyone needs space to think;...
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