The development of the modern education in the US raises a number of controversial issues, which reveal the ineffectiveness of the modern education system and its substantial drawbacks. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the modern public education in the US has proved to be ineffective because it fails to prepare students to the adult life and to provide them with the solid ground for obtaining higher education. In fact, public schools fail to provide students with the adequate and effective education. At the same time, public schools consume considerable funds covered by the government. In such a situation, some specialists (Doll, 2001) argue that the US should refer to the experience of other countries, such as the UK or Canada, where the state involvement in education is significant, whereas the quality of public education is consistently higher compared to the US. However, such suggestions to emulate other countries can lead to a dead-end because the US cannot follow the lead of other countries blindly, even if their experience has been successful. What the US does need is to develop its own education system and improve it because the development of the US education system will take into consideration specificities of the US culture, background of students, their needs and wants that are essential conditions of the effective education. At this point, the US should not emulate other countries but rather use their positive experience and develop its own education system, which meets needs and wants of students and which allows the US to help each student to realize his or her full potential and come prepared to life-time learning after graduation from schools, colleges and Universities.
In actuality, the development of the modern education in the US should meet challenges that students will face in their adult life. In such a situation, the mere emulation of other countries is not enough for the success of the US education system. The 21st century education poses new challenges educators, communities, parents and students have to cope with. In this regard, the close cooperation between educators, communities, parents and students is of the utmost importance because such cooperation defines, to a significant extent, the overall success of education and educational outcomes (Hooks, 1994). In actuality, students should come prepared to the adult life in the highly technological and rapidly changing world and educators along with parents and communities should assist students to acquire essential experience, fundamental skills and abilities that help them to learn in the course of their life, regardless of the assistance of educators. What is meant here is the fact that the major goal of the modern education is rising up a well-developed personality capable to learn independently of educators and respecting basic humanistic values.
On analyzing the current situation in education, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the development of the modern education is characterized by the widening gap between students in terms of their achievements as well as their access to education (Gelineau, 2004). In actuality, many students are deprived of a possibility to get education of the high quality. For instance, students studying at private schools get better education compared to students studying at public schools. At the same time, the achievement gaps is very significant even within public schools as well as private schools because educators fail to use the effective approach to curriculum that could enroll all students and provide all students with the possibility to realize their full potential and internal inclinations (Doll and Gough, 2001). In such a situation, many educators suffer from the lack of opportunities to implement effective approaches to curriculum because of the limited funds and poor management of schools (Finder, 2004). At the same time, the use of an individual approach to each student may help consistently to eliminate achievement gaps and help them to realize their potential. Therefore, curriculum design should focus on each student, his or her needs, inclinations and abilities. On the other hand, there is still no universal approach to curriculum and educators should choose the most effective curriculum design respectively to the environment and students they work with.
In actuality, the modern society has reached the unparalleled level of development and students have to learn more and more information in the course of their education. The number of hours students have to spent learning increases steadily. In such a situation, educators have to optimize the education and learning process to provide students with basic knowledge, skills and abilities (Kauffman, 1995). In addition, the modern society slips toward multiculturalism, where students live and learn in the multicultural environment. The multicultural environment raises the problem of the effective social interaction and relationships between students belonging to different cultural groups. All these challenges can become unsurpassable barriers to educators and they may lead to such problems as segregation or ineffectiveness of learning process because knowledge, skills and abilities students develop in the course of education may be ineffective in a rapidly changing world.
In actuality, the shift from the teacher-centered learning to the student-centered learning has become obvious. In this respect, it is important to understand causes of the shift toward the student-centered learning in order to define clearly the major directions in the development of the student-centered learning. Basically, the teacher-centered learning was grounded on the position of educators as the highest authority (Finder, 2004). The main function of a teacher was to teach students, to provide them with information, to help them to learn the learning material and to acquire certain set of knowledge along with basic skills and abilities the education aims at.
However, today, such an approach to learning is out-of-date and it does not work effectively anymore. To put it more precisely, the modern technology and science keep progressing at the unparalleled pace. In such a situation, the provision of students with a rigid set of knowledge has little positive effects on the further professional and personal life of students because the rigid set of knowledge becomes out-of-date fast and by the end of the school or college, students need to start learning on and on to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology and science (Gelineau, 2004). In such rapidly changing environment, students need to be able to find effective approaches to learning to be able to learn autonomously of educators.
In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that each student is unique and educators should shift toward the student-centered learning, where educators perform the role of a guide, who helps students to develop basic skills and abilities and to acquire knowledge students need in their regular life as well as in their future professional career. Specialists (Russell, 2002) argue that the student-centered learning maximizes the effectiveness of learning because educators find the individual approach to each student. This means that educators learn the cultural background of students, their psychological peculiarities, individual characteristics, their academic successes and current level of development. In such a way, using the aforementioned information, teachers can apply the student-centered learning to meet needs and wants of each student and to prepare him or her to the effective learning.
In this respect, educators attempt to involve communities, parents and students themselves in the learning process. Moreover, modern educators attempt to change the essence of the learning process itself. What is meant here is the fact that the modern education cannot provide students with some basic knowledge, skills and abilities, which they can use in the course of their life (Finder, 2004). The knowledge, skills and abilities they acquire in the course of their education can be up-to-date for several years after graduation from a school, college, or University. Therefore, educators attempt to change the concept of modern education and learning process focusing on the development of skills and abilities to learn in students. In other words, educators, along with communities and parents of students, attempt to teach them how to learn in the course of their life indecently of their educators. As a result, students should be able to learn independently, find new information, accumulate knowledge and produce new knowledge along with the development of new skills and abilities without the assistance of educators.
Finally, the modern education focuses on the formation of well-developed personality for students should accept and respect universal, humanistic values to be able to live in the multicultural environment (Finder, 2004). Therefore, educators along with communities and parents develop such values in students as tolerance and acceptance, respect, a wider view than just their curricula areas, global awareness, reflection, and other human values.
As a result, the modern education and learning process tend to the widening scope of the modern education, its humanistic orientation and preparation of students to the life in the highly technological and rapidly changing world (Doll, 2001). In this regard, the close cooperation between educators, communities, parents and students is particularly important.
obviously, the opinion of specialists is very important in regard to the further development of the Us education, but still it is necessary to conduct the in-depth study involving educators, students, and their parents to understand the needs of students and needs of education. The involvement of educators, students and their parents in the elaboration of new educational programs and new approaches to education will help the US to find its own way of development instead of mere emulation of experience of other countries in the field of education. The development of the modern education should be grounded on meeting needs of students. The maximization of the effectiveness of learning is one of the major goals of the learning process. At the same time, to reach a considerable success in learning, especially using the student-centered approach to learning, it is necessary to create environment, which is favorable for the implementation of the student-centered learning. In actuality, this means that educators should focus on students needs and wants not only in a short-run perspective but also in a long-run one. Therefore, educators should understand that students will need to keep learning even after the end of a school, college, or University. In such a situation, educators should prepare students to the idea of the lifetime learning.
However, the idea of the lifetime learning implies that students should understand that they will need to learn on their own without the assistance of educators. Consequently, the autonomy of students should become one of the major elements of the student-centered learning. To create such environment, where students feel autonomous, educators can encourage the group work of students, work of students on different projects, encourage their volunteer work, and so on. However, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that educators should always assist students. They should be guides for their students, who can give a piece of valuable advice, who can show the way students should pass on their own.
In this regard, specialists (Stewart, 2003) argue that the autonomy of students is one of the integral elements of the student-centered learning. Students feel free in the learning process. They can choose the subject to learn, the time to learn, and so on. Educators, in their turn, develop the curriculum, guide and control students. The control is particularly important in the student-centered because students should not feel the pressure from the part of educators. Instead, they should feel the support and trust from the part of educators. At the same time, it is possible to recommend introducing self-control among students. For instance, students can work on certain projects and discuss them in their groups, whereas an educator just performs a role of an authority or expert, who express his or her opinion on the subject, but students define whether their work was successful or not. In such a way, students are engaged in the learning process, they become active participants of the learning process, instead of passive subjects to the learning process as is the case of the teacher-centered learning.
At the same time, the development of the US education system should focus on the introduction of effective approaches to education and students teaching. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the US should make the national education available to all students. The elimination of boundaries separating students belonging to different social classes is one of the essential conditions of the development of new, effective education system.
In this regard, the experience of the UK, where the public education is well-developed, may be helpful for the US. However, the US cannot follow the lead of the UK blindly. In fact, the US should define accurately key factors contributing to the overall success of the UK education and adapt some elements to the US. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the US should not use or integrate any elements from foreign education systems without their adaptation to the US cultural and educational context. The US education is very specific and different from British or other education systems. Therefore, the integration of any new element needs accurate adaptation and assimilation to the US background.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the fact that the mere emulation of foreign experience cannot lead to positive outcomes. Educators believe that the US national education system needs consistent improvements but the improvements can be made on the ground of the existing education system to maintain its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses, whereas the borrowing of foreign experience in the field of education is likely to lead to the emergence of a bunch of new problems other countries faced, while developing their own education systems. In such a situation, positive outcomes of emulation can hardly outweigh weaknesses and drawbacks of the new education system being introduced in the US. In addition, it is important to remember that the US education system meets needs and wants of the US society because it has been developed in the US. The emulation will need the adaptation of new approaches to education and changes in the national education system of the US. In fact, the emulation may raise even more problems than the US is currently facing, whereas the development of a new or, to put it more precisely, the reform of the existing education system will lead to the consistent improvement of the national education system.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the US should not emulate other countries in the field of education. Even though, today, the US suffers from serious problems in the field of education, the mere emulation of other countries in the field of education will hardly have any positive effects on the US national education system. At the moment, the US suffers from the ineffectiveness of the public education. The modern education is still unavailable to a considerable part of the US society because of the unequal socioeconomic position of Americans and the lack of access to the high quality education of low-income families. In such a situation, the US national education system needs consistent changes and improvements. Obviously, the experience of other countries may be helpful but the US cannot adapt the foreign experience without any changes and adaptation to local specificities. What is meant here is the fact that cultural and educational environment of the US is different from other countries. As a result, the US has to reform its own education system using its own experience along with the adaptation of some elements from education systems of other countries. However, the mere emulation will not work in the US.
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