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Different sociological issues face the modern day society for instance, injustice, violence, crime, poverty, same sex marriages as well as religion. However, the society has found a way to cope with these issues and be able to lead normal, healthier lives.
Sociological issues can be defined as those issues directly or indirectly affecting majority or all members of a community and are perceived to be controversies and problems connected to moral values (Anne, 2002). One of the areas currently faced with sociological issues is that of the education sector. Educators and the community as a whole are faced with such issues as ethnicity, security and discipline, mainstreaming, private versus public education as well as race and equality (Haynes, 2002). Civil rights movement brought with it focus on ethnicity, equality and race in education. It was observed that those children hailing from poor, racial minority group societies faced numerous challenges which majority of them were unable to bear (Pritchard, 2008). In addition, other factors such as teacher attention were also observed to have an effect on how a child performed in the classroom.
The recent rise in school shootings and violence has raised an alarm within the community as concerns school security and discipline. The expressions of violence within the culture have permeated the schools forcing the school fraternity to take measures to ensure that security and discipline are maintained (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). For instance, campus students are now required to wear their identification at all times and those students found to report to school armed are penalized accordingly. Mainstreaming is defined as a practice which involves placing emotionally, physically or mentally handicapped children in regular, normal classrooms as compared to placing them in their own special education classrooms (Haynes, 2002). Majority of individuals suggest that all students deserve equal opportunities in education.
Do Teachers Like Teaching?
Teaching can generally be defined as the art of imparting knowledge to an individual or groups of individuals (Anne, 2002). It can also be referred to as that activity which facilitates learning. The person (s) who is charged with the responsibility of teaching is known as a teacher or a tutor (Pritchard, 2008). Teachers are required to know how best to motivate their students by being effective role models to whom the students can look up to (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). They are also required to have equally high expectations for all their students regardless of their competence, class or gender. Teachers need to be able to determine what their students understand, know and can do and also be able to refer to the assessments for future learning and teaching activities (Anne, 2002).
Even though majority of those who engage in the teaching career do so for the sake of wanting to find quick employment and not to stay idle, some of the people who undertake this career choice do so out of their passion for their work. Majority of teachers do like and enjoy teaching. Studies have shown that becoming a teacher is more than just loving children. One cannot make a serious living out of the career since it is perceived to be one of the lowest paying careers in the world (Anne, 2002). Those teachers who like teaching view teaching as an activity enabling them to pass on important knowledge to their students. As one teacher would say, teaching is like a gift that one can give without actually having to spend any money for it (Haynes, 2002). In addition, teachers get the satisfaction of knowing that they have accomplished their mission through teaching and that the knowledge they have imparted in their students will enable them to have a better and brighter future (Anne, 2002).
Concerns have risen about those teachers who do not like teaching. It has been observed that these are those individuals who either have been forced into the profession or did not have any other alternative (Pritchard, 2008). Such teachers have been found to not properly relate with their students and have a tendency of humiliating students as a way of disciplining them. They also lament about their income claiming that it is too low to live on (Haynes, 2002). However, these issues can be improved by the government taking into consideration raising the teacher's income. This will serve as a great motivator and encourage others who might be thinking of undertaking the same line of career (Anne, 2002). The societies as a whole should also take part in having faith with teachers since majority of individuals despise teaching profession.
Different ways of learning
There are a number of ways incorporated in learning. Learning styles are those distinct approaches to learning implemented in the learning process (Haynes, 2002). The different ways of learning include learning through visual aids where students need to observe the teacher's facial expression as well as his/her body language in order to understand and get the full concept of a lesson (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). Such students tend to sit at the front of the classroom so as not to be visually obstructed by other student's heads. This type of learning is usually common where insight is necessary for instance in entrepreneurship, marketing, technical management as well as research and development (Pritchard, 2008).
Another way of learning is verbal. Majority of individuals confuse verbalism as being a presentation style but it is only a learning style. Verbal as a way of learning is learning through listening. Students are taught verbally in that everything they learn is put into language (Haynes, 2002). Auditory learners, as they are also known listen to what the teachers have to say and interpret underlying meanings of speech through the tones used by the teachers. They also best learn when they use a tape recorder or read loudly from a given text (Anne, 2002). Kinesthetic or tactile learning is yet another way of learning. In this process, students learn through moving, touching and doing (Pritchard, 2008). In other words, such students need to manipulate and touch things in order for them to understand what they are being taught. However, kinesthetic students face the most difficulties in school since they are required to make the changes to objects as well as words by themselves as compared to watching their teacher do it (Haynes, 2002).
Different ways of learning may pose a concern in situations where the students have different temperaments, skills and abilities. For instance, if a classroom incorporates students who are visual, verbal and tactile, a teacher might have difficulties in trying to equally assist them in understanding the particular lesson being taught (Anne, 2002). The teacher might be forced to separate them and conduct different lessons at different times for the different students for better results in performance of the particular subject. However, this issue can be improved if the teachers would identify which way each student is able to learn in order to ensure that other ways of learning are also attended to in the course of the lesson (Pritchard, 2008). Alternatively, the government can assist in designating more classrooms to cater for the different students with different ways of learning.
Is gender a learning style?
Gender is not and cannot be considered as a learning style. However, gender greatly contributes to learning and learning styles used in schools. Past studies have revealed that girls are able to develop the language areas of the brain earlier than their male counterparts and this is why they are better performers in subjects involving languages (Haynes, 2002). On the other hand, visual spatial areas of the brain develop first in boys as compared to girls (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). This is the reason why boys perform better in subjects involving science and mathematics since these subjects are more visual and do not require them to become emotionally attached or involved in them (Anne, 2002).
Issues as concerns gender in the learning process have arisen in that most teachers and the school fraternity as a whole do not pay close attention to the fact that gender differences and abilities exist (Pritchard, 2008). For instance, there might be female students who struggle with science and math subjects and boys who struggle with communication and subjects involving language (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). When teachers use the same teaching styles and approach for both girls and boys, they further stereotyping and widen the gender differences. Implication for improving on the issue would be to encourage single-sex schools or classrooms. In this way, special talents on each gender will be nurtured to the fullest and the students will thrive in their special environments as compared to when they are put in a mixed environment (Haynes, 2002).
Student life in school and at home
Debates and questions have come forth as concerns student life in school and at home especially with the rising wave of crime within the community by young adults. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with student life in school and student life at home. Some of these advantages include having instant and easy access to school facilities such as libraries and cafeterias (Pritchard, 2008). Student life in school also increases a student's social life in that they allow others to hang around with them as it were and in the process, friendships are formed. For those students who are not close with their families or relatives, this presents a great opportunity for them to get to know other individuals and bond with them (Haynes, 2002). As a result, their self-esteem and morale is boosted and they are in a position to perform better in their academics. However, one disadvantage of student life in school is that there is usually little or no privacy for the student (Anne, 2002). The dorms, which are available for those students who board, are usually tiny and not conducive enough to the extent that it might at times become crowded.
On the other hand, student life at home offers students independence to engage in other activities other than academic ones. Student life at home also provides an opportunity for the student to look for part time employment in order to earn extra income for personal use (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). However, student life at home has been observed to be part of what constitutes crime in the society since student life at home offers the students freedom to engage in extra-curricular activities. (Haynes, 2002). This has posed a great concern in the society and the government should ensure that communities develop programs to cater for student life at home. For instance, the government and the community as a whole should designate areas where students can engage in constructive activities such as sports once they are off school (Anne, 2002).
Student diversity in schools
Modern day classrooms are filled with students from diverse backgrounds and teachers are having a hard time identifying effective learning methods to teach the students (Pritchard, 2008). Presently, the teaching profession requires teachers to be able to employ culturally responsive learning methods in addition to theoretically sound teaching methods. Classrooms are expected to have a culture, which accommodates all students regardless of their linguistic and cultural background, providing the best opportunity to learn and perform well academically (Haynes, 2002). Moreover, concerns have been raised about teachers favoring students having the same cultural background as them. Teachers who are racially discriminative or stereotyped tend to be harsh and unfeeling towards those students who are not of their nationality or ethnicity and this greatly affects the students' academic performance (Anne, 2002). Such students are made to feel inferior and develop low self-esteem. Therefore, teachers need to recognize as well as acknowledge their connection with diverse student cultures, noting the advantages and disadvantages of belonging to each group represented in the classroom (Pritchard, 2008). The community as a whole need to encourage such teachers to visit their home environments to be able to better understand and relate to their students hailing from different ethnic and racial backgrounds (DeSocio & Hootman, 2004). In this way, the teachers will be able to change their views as concerns racial profiling and stereotyping.
Social challenges come to school
It is unfortunate that majority of social challenges affecting the society have penetrated into schools, affecting students and their general academic performance. Some of the social challenges experienced by these students include parent separation, emotional problems, friend issues, family issues, bullies and to some extent, violence as is in the case of racial profiling and discrimination (Anne, 2002).
Social challenges in schools have posed a serious concern in that academic performance of students rapidly decline when faced with two or three of the social challenges aforementioned. For instance, if a student comes for a home environment experiencing emotional problems, violence or parent separation, this student would have difficulties in concentrating in class or would isolate him/herself from the rest of his/her peers (Haynes, 2002). Therefore, the school fraternity should introduce programs such as counseling and therapy programs to cater for such students as those who face these social challenges. In this way, their performance will be greatly improved as well as their self-esteem (Pritchard, 2008).
Philosophy of education
This can be defined as a field of applied philosophy, which draws from the traditional fields of ethics, ontology and so on, as well as its approaches in an effort to address questions as regards human development, curriculum theory and education policy (Anne, 2002). It can also be considered a branch of education and philosophy.
Philosophy of education is generally concerned with how children should be taught, what they should be educated in as well as what the final purpose of education should be for the society (Pritchard, 2008). It is an important field in that the society and its future are defined by why and how well the children are educated. Teachers tend to teach students in a way that it is difficult for them to understand a specific subject. This can be attributed to the fact that such teachers do not follow a proper laid down guideline as concerns the school's curricular and instead teach what they personally see fit (Anne, 2002). This is of great concern since the children are what they are taught and it is what they will become in future. Therefore, teachers should apply philosophy of education that are based on a perception of society as well as what is considered important and political beliefs to some extent (Haynes, 2002).
By educating the whole society as to the importance of philosophy of education and teaching process, students will have a better and a brighter future.