Teacher’s usually teach a typical classroom, but just how much does the teacher teach? Most high school classrooms today have preset lesson plans, fixed agendas, and assigned texts that the teacher decides to use; but instead assigned to the teacher by the board of education of what the students need to know. This necessary material that teachers teach gives the students knowledge. Most high schools have this system of teaching, regardless of how well it worked in the past, it does not work well know. Democracy in the classroom presents itself like this: teachers would vote for representatives who hold similar ideas to them, for example, ideas of how to teach and what to teach; these representatives would then get together, and vote on the ideas they have conflicts with. In the end, the teachers need to teach whatever they consider as the appropriate content and approach. Democracy in the classroom may work well for the majority, but what about the minority? Democracy in high school classrooms does not work because of the overgeneralization it places on the classrooms, restrictions on the teacher’s abilities, and incorporations of outdated techniques of teaching. I would rather have the teacher teach the way she feels would be the most effective for the student in his/her classroom.
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First off, what defines democracy in the classroom? The dictionary best defines democracy as majority rule. Democracy forms a control that incorporates learned-lessons and proven facts of the past. It takes away the idea that most people get a say in what goes on. They have representatives, elected by the board of education, that collectively get together to decide issues on, what they should teach in the classroom, and how well they would teach it.. When ideas conflict in democracy, the majority wins and the minority has to succumb to the democratic decision.
With democracy in the classroom comes an extreme overgeneralization of how children learn and what they need to learn. Every class has a different dynamic, making the best possible approach different for each class. Some classes would do best with group work, while other classes produce the best results through note-taking, and lectures. Throughout most of my high school career I did not learn anything. I would just pay enough attention in class to pass my tests. But there was one class where I did learn because of the way the teacher taught. It was my 10th grade history class it was a lot of group work, and a lot of projects. Those were thing that I like so I payed attention and got an A, but more important I still remember everything that I learned. I feel that teachers should have control of how they teach their class because they could adjust to the ways of the student so more students will learn. Just because the majority of teachers think one way of teaching works well does not mean that it will be successful in all cases. Some students learn better by doing group work because they like to interact with other students, but other students do not like to interact with other students. This affects the students because they will not always get in the class that provides the best learning technique for them. In that case the student might struggle, and not obtain as good a grade.
These ideas could compare with that of apple tree farmers; say that the majority of apple trees need watering 2 times a day, but if the minority apple trees get watered 3 times a day, would it be right to water those trees twice a day because that it works best with the majority? No. Everything, especially in the classroom, needs to have time to adapt to a specific environment. Most students need an environment that they could learn in, and would want to learn in. If students do not like the way a teacher teaches then they will not pay attention, and then they will not learn anything. But if the students do like it then they will pay attention, and they will learn. I do not feel that the burden should be placed on the teachers, but I do feel that they should make it more interesting, because they know that more students would listen if the class interested them.. This idea does not work in all cases because certain subjects can only be taught one way, but it will work in most cases.
With democracy in the classroom, the teacher’s abilities have great constraints. People have a reasonable assumption about teachers, and the idea that they know what they teach. If they do not understand what they teach, then how should we expect student to learn? Teachers themselves, properly taught, have the ability to run a classroom for the following reasons: First, if the teacher knows all the fundamentals of the subject that he/she teaches, it’s a reasonable conjecture that the teacher has the ability to teach on that subject. Second, classroom dynamics change all the time, requiring the teacher to change approaches all the time; which would give the teacher a supreme advantage of deciding which style of teaching is most productive. I remember my eighth grade teacher, one of my best teachers and how he did not do anything ordinary. The class would walk in to Bob Marley playing, we would write about it later or we would write about another topic. Computers had not really begun getting incorporated into classrooms, but we used them, and he gave us our grades after a 5 minute conference with him, so he could better understand his student’s individual perspectives. This example of teaching would definitely fall in the minority class, but I could certainly say that it was some of the best education I have received. I feel that if more teachers taught like this, more students will receive a better education.
The outdated techniques, and content that democracy would incorporate into the classroom would negatively affect the outcome in the classroom of today. Teachers, depending on what subject they teach, have certain ideas and concepts that need to be taught. For example, English teachers start off the year with certain goals of what they want their students to learn; sometimes on how to write an essay, certain punctuation, or certain literature. All of these goals need to have the students input. If the teachers want to teach Shakespeare, the class has to show some sort of interest or intrigue towards it, otherwise students will only obtain brief memorizations just long enough to pass the test. I do not feel that teachers should not teach certain things, I just feel that they should just make it more interesting. Beth Kneller states that "Most of the criteria on teachers base students grades on needs to deal with more of what the teaching practices the teacher incorporates or does not incorporate rather than with the mastery of particular skills" (C5). Most students learn better when they learn about stuff that interest them. Even though certain pieces of historic literature that must be taught. Does that mean that only those pieces of literature that they should teach, or can they replace it with a more up-to-date piece of literature that the class can relate to better? Not only can they replace it, but they can be replace it, and have more success at the same time.
I believe that we need to change the way that schools teach children today. If we put the power of teaching back into the teachers hands, then children will get a better education. From the examples above I have shown that democracy in the classroom does not work for all students. In helping the youth of today’s society, we must focus on helping each and every individual student. Democracy has the capability of running the government, but not the schools. The consequences that we will face in the long run would be more serious because students will not get a proper education, and they will not retain the information that the teachers taught them. As a whole we need to better fund our educational systems so the youth of today can get education that would help them later on in life. I feel that if we could put so much money into our jails, how come we cant put it into our schools? The children of today will run this country in the future , and if they do not have a good education where will our country stand in the future? Democracy over generalizes the classrooms, restricts the teachers abilities, and incorporates outdated techniques of teaching. I feel that we need to change in now, and not wait till it becomes to late.
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