Monday, November 1, 2010

A Flawed Educational System

I went to the “Social Justice in Education” lecture given by Pedro Noguera tonight. His main point on education was the idea that interaction with students was the most effective method of education. He started off his lecture by saying that without encouragement students are not capable of living up to their potential or able to obtain a proper education. According to him, an educational system that focuses more on interaction between the student and the teacher rather than simply aptitude testing. Measuring a student’s intelligence does nothing to assist in their development, but rather just accentuates the flawed educational system.

Specifically, I found it very interesting when Dr. Noguera talked about the work he did in an alternative high school in Berkeley, California. When he arrived at the school he saw an educational system in shambles; kids didn’t attend class and teachers were perfectly fine with that. He saw that these kids realized the value of an education though, as many of them still came to school in order to get a high school diploma. He managed to set up a system where many of these kids were given the opportunity to succeed out of high school, based off of interaction with people working at a biotech facility nearby. Through the attention given to these kids, they were able to achieve something they never would have dreamed of in the old system.

This idea of education being more complex than simply reading books is very reminiscent of the Kolvenbach article from the beginning of the semester. Although that article takes a slightly different angle, that being that experience of knowledge in the real world is most important, they both highly value things other than book education as necessary.

The most important idea that I was able to obtain from Dr. Noguera was that the educational system, specifically in impoverished areas, is very flawed. As he mentioned, the challenge is to get those who have money to understand that their future lies in the hands of those who don’t, specifically these children. With a better-focused educational system more children could have opportunities to succeed in this world and make a difference.

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