Modern Education as a Social Problem

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One thing that occupies people’s mind today is the social problems. Majority of today’s society is still lack the intellectual strength to earnestly study these problems. Many believe that these problems can be mastered by having some knowledge, but the truth is they can never be mastered if they are not tackled from the viewpoint of spiritual knowledge.

The great problem of our future will be that of education. How will we have to deal with children so that they, as adult, can grow into the social, democratic, and spiritually free areas of living in the most comprehensive way?

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Spiritual science has pointed to this problem of education as today’s humanity will need to understand it if it wishes to advance. Social demands will remain chaotic if it is not seen that their base lays the biggest problem of the time: the problem of education. Educators and parents, in preparing the next generations of students for their roles as responsible citizens, must strengthen children’s ability to think clearly, carefully, and sensitively, particularly when under stress. Too often, constructive efforts to help children are conquered by media shallowness, negative peer pressure and a sense of uprootedness caused by social mobility. Lacking of a sense of security and positive guidance, many children find their values and goals influenced by media and peer portrayals of “the good life” and “how to be number one”.

Based on the questionnaires given to a group of students, almost 70% of them responded by giving a similar solution to the problems. For example for the question related to being pressured by peer group, they decided to turn to someone they trust and those who will motivate them by providing the support they need and also the positive vibes from the people they are comfortable with. In a similar perspective, some of them even ignored the pressure by staying away from those negative people in order to boost their moral in school and to avoid unnecessary depression.

Allen (2007), mentioned that depression would seem to be a clear case of negative emotion, but it is not. Rather, the core of depressed mood is the loss of one’s capacity to experience positive emotions such as interest, excitement, and joy. As for the school children, depression is not only come from the peer groups but depression can also derive from various aspects related to social, moral, spiritual or cultural differences faced by the children in their daily school life.

One of the common causes faced by many people around the world is the problem of growing inequality. Crone (2010) states inequality in a society occurs when people have differing amounts of money, power, or prestige. If one owns a home and stock, that person has some wealth. Some people have a lot of wealth because they own a number of homes and have millions of dollars worth of stock, whereas other people do not own a home and have no stock. This causes a huge variation in income and wealth that definitely causing some social problems. This problem will also escalate to their children. The children will also face some problems because of their parents’ status.

Another cause of growing inequality is the relationship between those who have much wealth, income and power and those who have no wealth, little income and little or no power. For example, if the board members of one corporation decide to cut thousands of jobs and close a number of plants, not only will workers in those plants lose their jobs, but the communities in which those plants are located will be hurt. Shops in those communities may close or suffer great financial losses; schools might not have enough money for teacher salaries, up-to-date equipment or new buildings; and city governments may lose tax revenue that would have gone to pay the salaries of the police and fire department members and workers who maintain the streets, sewage and water systems.

The term social problem is used to indicate that something is wrong. In popular apprehension, a social problem is not something like happy families, physically fit people, or schools that teach children to read. It is so obviously referred to conditions evaluated as wrong because they create harm. Another definition of social problem sounds harsh and uncaring: which means that it must hurt more than a few people, Loseke (2011).

As the rest of human life, morality and moral education have an outside and inside. Nucci (2014) emphasizes that seen from the outside, morality provides a way of getting along with others, and from the inside, it is a way of getting along with oneself. In other words, moral education is at once a necessary condition for social control and an indispensable means of self-realization. Most of us, including philosophers and psychologists as well as parents and educators, assume that these two functions of morality sustain each other: what is good for society is good for our kids, and vice versa.

Arthur (2005) indicates that, in handling moral education issues, it is important to keep in mind that the home is the primary shaper of character while the school is only a secondary shaper. Schools are not a total institution and only able to support certain values and moral excellences of homes and society when asked to do so. Teachers, on the other hand, are already involved in the formation of the character of their students by being part of the school community. Arthur (2005) further asserts that the overwhelming majority believed that the teacher influenced the character of their students and that this process of influencing moral values was integral to the role of the teacher. However, it was clear that the majority of the students experienced no common practice of moral or character education in schools and their courses were inadequate at preparing them for this role.

As we are aware, the development of moral character has been a traditional goal of moral education in schools. It focuses on the instilling of pure traits of character as the goal of education.

Erricker (2012) holds the position that character is not considered to be formed automatically, but is developed through teaching, example, and practice. There are also new approaches that derive from cognitive psychology. But because of the wide variety of approaches to character education, it is difficult to evaluate them as a group. It is necessary to look at individual projects. Some of the latest findings even showed that the risk of traditional character education lies in adopting inappropriate teaching techniques for the classroom. All in all, character education programs are very popular in many schools and the development of character can be effective moral education, especially when incorporated into the whole curriculum and school life.

Erricker (2012) further points out that education is constructed on the basis of the curriculum. The curriculum is constructed on the basis of knowledge. Knowledge is constructed on the basis of knowing. Knowing is objective, not subjective. This rules out the effective, emotions and feelings, and has always posed a threat to the educational importance of religions and moral education.

Today, children and young people think that religious education is about making one religion or more specifically, only relevant if one is Christian, Muslim or Jewish etc. Halafoff & de Souza (2017) note that the real problem with speaking of spirituality in education lies in the fact that for centuries, it has been closely associated with organized religion.

In all such judgements, be they spiritual or secular, there is an expectation that teachers be knowledgeable and will provide a safe space where students are encouraged to be curious, creative, critical, reflexive and to grow in self-knowledge and knowledge of God, in order to live a good life in harmony with all beings. As for teachers, they must see the groove and be able to step out of it before they can ask others to do the same. This means that it is essential for holistic teachers to practice what they preach – that they base their teaching practices on their own consciousness and spirit-based lifestyle. If we call ourselves holistic teachers, it means we have made a serious and lifelong commitment not just to one own self-development but also to philosophies that inform our practices, to the students entrusted to us, to the communities in which we work and live, and to the goal of changing our world for the better. This also means we value creativity, multiple ways of knowing, awakening the inner being in each of us, and living a life based on compassion, tenderness, love, and wisdom. Holistic educators seek to touch the soul, to awaken the excitement of growth and the empowerment that comes with knowledge. From this philosophical position, we attempt to create conditions for students wherein transcendence is invited and may occur.

Religions and different expressions of spiritually have long sought to remedy the world’s problems. However, a question remains: if learning about religion and spirituality, and nurturing spiritual development and well-being can be included in the education systems. It is vital to highlight the needs for schools to play an important role in promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and well-being of the youngsters. It is also critical to stress the importance of assisting students to have a sense of self-worth, self-awareness and personal identity that enables them to manage their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being.

A good educational institution will be committed to providing education that is free from discrimination based on gender, language, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, religion, and ensuring that schooling contributes to a socially cohesive society that respects and appreciates cultural, social and religious diversity.

In conclusion, educators should be encouraged to nurture spiritual well-being, providing quality of life education and at some points, educators may need to re-enchant education and learn how to live a good, ethical life, both individually and collectively.

Guidance is another way in which institutions can increase social commitment to solving problems. Guidance can be defined as a specific program of behavioral norms, connected to guiding theory and ideology. For instance, the Montessori method has been proved to provide a good example of guidance in the human service context. The method is based on a clear set of values and principles that are translated into an elaborate, standardized curriculum. The curriculum specifies the materials to be used, the arrangement of the classroom and directions concerning the role of the teacher. All of the teachers are expected to follow the same curriculum. So, unlike most other curricula, the Montessori Method exists in a social context that infuses the curriculum with meaning and makes it a powerful tool in order to enhance social commitment.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had a clear and radically new conception of human development: personal autonomy. In a paradoxical manner, the way one becomes autonomous is by obeying the law, especially the moral law. But according to Kant, one must obey the law for the right reasons which are to say from motives of duty rather than the tendency of self-interest.

Li (2006) in his book illustrates that there is a saying in China: “The three teachings of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism are like the legs of a tripod; you cannot lack even one.” This three traditional philosophies served as the primary sources for guidance in China’s moral education until the mid-nineteenth century.

In Confucianism, the founder of this teaching, Confucius believed in ‘ren’. Ren is about how to treat others and how to behave oneself. Confucius also proposed ‘ren’ as the highest moral ideal and principle for an individual and a society. Through learning and self-cultivation, people can better manage the family, make the country orderly, and bring peace to the world.

As for Daoism, the word ‘Dao’ meaning ‘The Way’. The teaching proposed that people should learn the ways of the natural world, and then live their lives in harmony with it. In Daoism, to be moral one should live life in accordance with the Dao. It suggests that people let go of the knowledge, prejudices, habits, desires, and ego that have distracted people from their own true nature and the true nature of the world around them, and to develop an inner awareness towards the world and oneself.

In Buddhism, the goal of moral education is educators should believe everyone has the capacity to become a moral person.

A Task of moral education is to eliminate prejudices or stubbornness and guide individuals out of the lost state and into the awakening state.

Overall, these three philosophies could be valuable resources for moral education in terms of nurturing humanity in modern societies and could offer inspiration to those individuals seeking alternatives to certain approaches.

Deal & Peterson (2016) explain that the concept of schools having distinctive cultures is not new. The term culture provides a more accurate and intuitively appealing way to help school leaders better understand their school’s unwritten rules and traditions, customs, and expectations. The unofficial patterns seem to permeate everything: the way people act, how they dress, what they talk about or consider taboo, whether they seek out colleagues or isolate themselves, whether they work together, and how teachers feel about their work and their students.

Culture affects all aspects of a school. It influences informal conversations in the lunchroom, the type of instruction valued, and how professional knowledge is viewed. It also has a significant impact on rational and structural forms and functions that include the following:

i. Culture fosters school effectiveness and productivity. It provides motivation to persevere in the demanding work of teaching students in a small, usually isolated space, i.e. classroom.

ii. Culture improves communication and problem-solving. Schools that value and shared responsibility for solving problems offer a better opportunity for the exchange of ideas and the enhancement and spread of effective practices.

iii. Culture builds commitment and raises motivation. Motivation is strengthened through rituals that nurture identification, traditions that intensify connection to the school, ceremonies that build community, and stories that convey the heart and soul of the school.

iv. Culture expands the energy, vitality, and trust of school staff members, students, and the community. It is known that culture influences the emotional and psychological orientation of a school and many say that the context is infectious. This is especially the case in schools that are optimistic, caring, supportive, trusting and energetic. Teachers, staff, students, and community are likely to take on those same characteristics. But the opposite is also true. Some school cultures are toxic. The social surroundings are so negative that even the most positive individuals can become discouraged or disheartened.

Managing a school culture is not dependent on the authority that we have based on our position, but can only be affected by increasing our influence over behaviour, beliefs, relationships, and other complex dynamics present in the school that are often unpredictable.

If some of the students act out their anger or resentment in class and try to tolerate the behaviour problems that don’t seriously disrupt the class. Instead make it clear that although we understand how they feel, they will not be allowed to interfere with other students’ right to learn.

When students withdraw from classroom participation, come late, cut classes, and so on, explain that there are better ways of expressing their feelings and solving a problem than denying themselves an education. Teachers should earn students trust and confidence by utilising a multicultural approach when managing their behaviour.

Teachers should also be able to correct any misperceptions students’ families may have about the teachers or other staff at the school and develop positive relationships with them before it becomes necessary to solve problems and resolve issues. Communicate the positive accomplishments of their children, invite them to visit the class and to participate in class events, and seek their input and feedback about the class. These steps can help establish a relationship of mutual respect and confidence.

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