Jan 12, 2018 in Education

Against School

The theme of education and its consistency is one of the key social issues faced in the twenty-first century. In his article, the author raises an argument against conventional system of schooling, proving that it is out-of-date and detached from practical challenges of real life. In order to prove his point, he refers to historical background of the issue, as well as his own long-term experience as a teacher. He believes there are chances to be flexible even within the system of mandatory education, yet efforts to transform its core should be taken.

The author's purpose is to prove that schools became an instrument to adjust children to corporate society through adoption of corresponding false values, which are enemies to true goals of education as development. He analyzes the main functions of education today and refers to authoritative sources that prove his point about the negative role of schools in enslaving people and making them obedient and confined to structured social roles. Yet, he uses this knowledge to come to an optimistic conclusion about an opportunity to change the situation, and does this in the form of instructions directed at the audience, teachers and parents in the first place.

The article starts with the author's summarizing his thirty years' experience in teaching in all kinds of schools, in the course of which he had to confront the conventions of education. He believes that boredom is a stigma that both teachers and students have and that everyone is responsible for this decay. It is pointed out that both the system and the individuals influence the situation, so work has to be carried out in both directions. Further on, the author considers a paradox point that schools as they are might be not a mistake but rather a purposeful plan of the state to shape obedient and conformist people today. He steps back to analyze the evolution of school education throughout history to prove how not only the methods but also the purpose has changed drastically. For example, as he states, at the brink of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries the goal of education was the following: 1) To make good people. 2) To make good citizens. 3) To make each person his or her personal best (Against Schools). Yet, as decades passed, the goals became more complex and moved from upbringing to making a person socially adaptable and easy to deal with, even though at the expense of creativity and independent learning. Later on the author comes to an even more shocking conclusion that contemporary schooling was deliberately made up to enslave an individual and prevent them from being proactive and free-thinking. The author believes that education as it is now is specially designed to maintain the status quo of consumption society rather than to work for the ideals of enlightenment and development. Being part of school communities each of each can reach several thousands people does not encourage individuality but rather competition and necessity to fit in with social requirements. Yet, the author is sure that there is a way to change a situation because there are a lot of people who are eager to reform education and the overall outlook. Being aware of the pitfalls opens new opportunities, as he mentions. He believes that parents and educators should give children freedom and challenges that would make them want to develop their talents and thinking.

In terms of rhetorical approach, it should be stated that the author uses a number of tools to make his message persuasive and comprehensive. Thus, the introductory sentence serves to establish the authority of the author as an experienced educator, and at the same time to express doubt in the validity of this experience because of the system's flaws. It is made clear that the article has a broad but at the same time clearly defined target audience of parents and educators, that is those people who are able to reflect on the proposed change and to implement it. To make the argument sound reliable, the author gives a profound historical perspective of the discussed issue, tracing how political, social and economic factors have changed the purpose of education. Using unexpected historical parallels is a means of the author's indepth vision of education in the overall historical process and understanding of its cause-consequence and cyclic nature. Thus, for instance, he compares the current purpose of education to the one that Prussia historically had in the nineteenth century to control its citizens. A political thought is also used, such as Marx's ideology of classes that explains the state's effort to keep masses dissociated by means of education. Speaking about the language used by the author, it should be noted that it is quite informal and metaphoric at places, yet quite precise at the same time. The rejection of boredom is reflected in the author's manner of narration, as he tries to make the deep text entertaining as well, turning it into an interactive dialogue with his audience. For this sake rhetorical questions are used abundantly to illustrate the process of discovery that is not momentary but has several steps.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the author aims to prove that contemporary education is flawed but that its weakness is planned but not accidental. By means of historical and experiential analysis he proves that education is the state's plan to make people controlled and to maintain them in the field of consumption type of society. He believes that this approach of making people servants kills the essence of education and its attractiveness, yet he thinks that change is possible through personal efforts.

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