An ideal system of education requires distinct characteristics. Our education system today is not quite perfect. All education institutions share a common goal. The goal is for all the students to gain knowledge that they didn’t have before in order to compete in the real world. Morowitz wrote that many people believe education is a method of transferring knowledge from master to pupil. The majority of people believe this is “obtaining education.” There is more to the concept that “students are depositories” and the “teachers are the depositor.”( Paule Friere ) The success of the students are directly connected to the environment he is surrounded. A perfect education system has to start with a comfortable environment. The teacher also has to be knowledgeable and not believe in the myth that “teachers justifies their own existence through their students ignorance absolute.”(Paule Friere) A perfect institution of education should be able to accommodate cultural change, diversity, have a strict curriculum with alternative teaching strategies, and promotes interaction among their peers.
In 1998, a television program called 60 Minutes , aired a special investigation of the United States educational system when compared to the educational system of China and Germany. The results of this investigation surprised many citizens of the U.S., including myself. According to 60 minutes, the United States system of education is failing tremendously when compared to other to Germany and China. They found a direct connection between the failure of U.S. students and the teaching methods the U.S. imposes on them. Also, the success of the student s of China and Germany shared a similar philosophy. China and Germany greatly promotes interaction between the students at a very young age. In America, the students are more interested in individual success. American students learn to become a distinct individual . These students s believe that this individuality is what defines them. Everyone is constantly competing against one another, trying to create an identity for themselves. A junior in high school may think that working at Mcdonald s makes him a MAN ; while in China and Germany, their students are probably training for a better job in the future. Very few American students are being introduced to group work and the concept of interaction among their classmates. They don t realize the strong bonding that occurs when people share and discuss ideas because the United States doesn t realize it either. Inversely, in Germany and China, the concept of group work is greatly stressed. They believe it leads to a much greater benefit. As 60 minutes investigated, they found out that students in Germany and China have higher test scores than American students, there are less crimes, and the percentage of unemployment is extremely small. These students learn at a very young age to get along with one another, to share ideas, and to resolve their conflicts in a non-violent fashion. The broader view of Germany and China is that interaction among students at an early age, promotes a more civil society in the picture. While America is more interested in individuality, China and Germany are investing in the future with the concept of group work . China and Germany s outlook on the future with the promotion of teamwork is why their educational system is so successful when compared to America s educational system. In a perfect educational system, interaction among students will greatly be encouraged.
Teachers are a very important element in successfully transferring knowledge from the teacher to the pupil. In this institution, teachers are not allowed to believe that they are superior to the students. When this occurs, and the inequality sets in, the student will be hesitant to ask questions about subjects they don’t understand. When a student does this, he is unintentionally hurting himself. He will not have gain and understand the true meaning of what is being taught by the teacher because he is more focused on the educational gap between the student and teacher. The student needs to able to question everything that is being taught. By using the Socratic method, students will understand topics rather than believing what other people are saying. There needs to be a respectful relationship between the student and teacher. The student respects the teacher and the teacher respects the student equally. This relationship between student and teacher is very important journey of obtaining knowledge. There should be no other kinds of relationship. The only acceptable form is through the connection that they both share as being teacher and being student. Next, the teacher need to responsible for the materials they are covering. They need to be fluent or else the student will have doubts about the material and ultimately the teacher. The more secure the teacher is with his material the more the student will trust the material and the teacher. If a teacher is not confident and prepared, there will be doubts that will be raised in the minds of the student. More importantly, the teacher will need to care about the student and guide them towards their goal. In A Cub-Pilot s Experience, by Mark Twain, Mr. Bixby, the instructor is determined to teach Twain how to pilot a steamboat through the river. Bixby does not use force but instead lets Twain gradually realize that he is learning. All Bixby does is guide Twain but he lets Twain makes his own mistakes and learn from it. Like Bixby, all teachers need to know when to step aside so that the student can make progress and help the student up when he fails. The most beneficial qualities of an excellent teacher are the ability to care for the student and the encouragement teachers provide for the students. Teachers are just an extension of parents; caring and encouragement are two characteristics of parents.
The next important element in a perfect educational institution, is the curriculum. There needs to be a flexible curriculum that accommodates all the different intellectual abilities of all the students. Not all the students will have the same learning capabilities. Some students may have a learning disability and others may be genuinely intelligent. The curriculum is strict but still is flexible enough to accommodate each individual student. The actual courses need to be comprehensive. The subjects being studied needs to be updated constantly by the teachers. A perfect institution will have all area of studies accessible to the students. Any particular major or subject will be left to the students to decide. When they do decide what they want to study, there will be the necessary courses to cover that major. In order for a student to pass a course, he needs to be able to teach the information he learned in that course. This teaching method is very important. If a student is able to teach something then that student truly understands it. This method of testing the knowledge of the student should be the final examination for every course. This method is more valid than the constant question and answer method being used today, which promotes temporarily memorization.
The next ingredient in a perfect institution is the actual environment itself. Many people are influenced by their surrounding. An intellectual community needs to look like an intellectual community. It will be located in an area, which is safe. The students need to feel comfortable. A comfortable learning environment leads to the success of the students. There should be no distractions that will keep the student from learning. In addition, the institution needs to be culturally diverse. All different nationalities will be accepted. There will no forms of discrimination. An Asian person is equal in every respect to Caucasian. On the basis of acceptance to this institution, a student s character and ambition are the most important qualities. Grades will not be extremely important as it is now. With all of these characteristics, the student s should be able to concentrate on obtaining their education.
Though the task of creating and maintaining a perfect institution is a difficult task, it can be created. People need to come together with this structure and guideline in mind. The educated ones need to continue to educate others. In Plato s Allegory of the Cave, Plato wrote that people who see the light and understand the true meaning of something, do not want to associate themselves with the uneducated ones. This will not happen in a perfect institution. Plato also wrote, A well governed city becomes a possibility only if you can discover a better way of life for your future rulers than holding office. (page 83) This realization is extremely important to future students. Educated people need to think of the future and society as a whole. They need to help educate others, just as others, educated them. If all of these characteristics are met in an institution, then that institution can be labeled, perfect.”