Learning has a profound influence on one’s process of thinking, development, and professional disposition. By interacting with the learning process, learners gradually discover the most suitable career for them. Education should transform learners into critical thinkers. Any kind of learning that emphasizes on the passive acquisition of knowledge without engaging the minds of learners actively, critically, and creatively is not worth pursuing. Considering the place that it occupies in human lives, education undergoes a constant transformation in order to remain relevant and applicable to people’s lives. Emerging issues in education include technology and HIV/AIDS education. This paper will delve into the issues of learning and critical thinking, career, and changes in the education system.
Learning effects on thought processes, development, and professional disposition
Gutek (2004) avers that the most practical benefit of education is to transform learners into critical thinkers. Critical thinking refers to the “disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances” (Dewey, 1938, p.34). An educated mind analyzes situations from multidimensional angles. The product of a sound mind is rational decisions, measured words, and skilled actions. The product of an unsound mind is a poor decision that causes problems, wasteful use of energy and resources, as well as frustration. Ideal learning should enhance the mental clarity of the learners and make them understand situations faster and correctly.
Learning also affects development and professional disposition. Gutek (2004) defines disposition as the “values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behavior towards colleagues, family, and community” (23). Learning affects the way individuals develop and their learning disposition. Ideal learning should develop learners intellectually, socially, economically, and enhance their political consciousness. A learned mind is an epitome of civility, justice, fairness, and correctness.
Learning has contributed to my development and professional disposition and made me a critical thinker. Now I make reasoned and logical judgments. Politically, my decisions are not influenced by popular opinion. I judge depending on situations and I am not afraid to stand alone in a multitude. Professionally, I practice the virtues of diligence, fairness, and justice.
Today’s issues in education as a result of changes in schools over the last 100 years
Like any other aspect of life, education has undergone immense changes in recent years. Some of these changes are positive while others should not have happened. The most profound changes are curriculum, teaching style, and classroom equipment. A hundred years ago, the curriculum was limited to literacy, arithmetic, and arts. Nowadays, the curriculum has expanded to include new disciplines, such as computer and information technology studies. This diversity was non-existent in the past. Additionally, classrooms were simple structures with big spaces, a blackboard, and chalks. In modern times, smart boards have replaced blackboards and the range of equipment has increased. Similarly, teaching styles have evolved to reflect the realities of nowadays. There has been a shift to a learner-centered approach, and teaching is sensitive to learners’ individual needs.
Another positive change is the end of racial segregation in schools. Supreme Court of the United States ruling rooted out discrimination and made it possible for students from different races to learn together (Aldridge & Goldman, 2007). Ideally, education should promote equality. To segregate students because of the color of their skin is not only dehumanizing but also an affront to the essence of education
Some changes in the last years are regrettable. In the past, the teacher was the ultimate source of authority within the school. Schools operated on strict discipline and teachers were concerned about learners’ social developments. A century later, teachers have lost their place as disciplinarians in the school. Law reforms and human rights advocates have been instrumental in championing students’ rights. While some of the punishments administered by teachers in the past were inhumane and unacceptable, it is regrettable that the teachers have lost their place as disciplinarians. The rudimental role of teachers in disciplining students has escalated indiscipline levels in schools (University of Phoenix, 2009).
Educational institutions dealing with societal changes
Educational institutions have changed to deal with societal changes. Most of those changes have been inspired by technology. Public, private, religious, and for-profit institutions have transformed to keep in tandem with the changes in the societal. Young children are growing up in a society that has embraced technology. By the time of enrolling in schools, most children are already technology-savvy. They can work on the computer and use the Internet to search for information. Schools have, therefore, had to change their instructional strategies and equipment. Technological devices enhance reading and vocabulary mastery for children (Johnson et al, 2008). Educational institutions have to change their curriculum to reflect this reality. Additionally, a large number of students are turned off by old instructional equipment, such as blackboard and chalks (National Center on Education and the Economy, 2008). Students find technological devices more captivating and motivating than the old ones.
Technology has allowed people to do things with more convenience and save time. It is possible to shop online and order delivery at the comfort of one’s house. Educational institutions have changed to satisfy the need for convenience by the students. This is manifest through the launch of virtual classrooms, video conferencing, and live chats (Johnson et al, 2008). Teachers can reach a wide audience by telecasting their lectures. The convenience that people enjoy in the society has found its way into educational institutions.
In conclusion, education is a highly dynamic field. The society changes constantly and so must education do. Some aspects of education are, however, enduring and permanent. Since time immemorial, education is geared towards making its recipients critical thinkers. This has not changed. Additionally, education has been inculcating proper societal values on its beneficiaries since time immemorial. The current education endeavors to do the same though with less success than in the early days. Most of the changes in education have come about due to technology. The current crop of students interacts with technological devices at a very young age. Schools have therefore adjusted accordingly to reflect this reality. Technological devices enhance reading proficiency and vocabulary mastery (National Center on Education and the Economy. 2008). Schools have revised their instructional strategies, curriculum, and equipment to remain relevant. The need for convenience has also led learning institutions to embrace technology.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone Books.
Gutek, G. L. (2004). Philosophical and ideological voices in education. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Aldridge, J., & Goldman, R. (2007). Current issues and trends in education. Boston, MA: Pearson education.
The University of Phoenix. (2009). The mission of Kelsey School District: Virtual Organizations: Kelsey Unified School District. Web.
Johnson, J. A., Dupuis, V. L., Gollnick, D. M., Hall, G. E., & Musial, D. (2008). Foundations of American education: Perspectives on education in a changing world. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
National Center on Education and the Economy. (2008). Tough choices or tough time: The report of the commission on the skills of the American workforce. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.