Pick Up the Phone

May 20, 2008
By Eleanor Strickland, Valdosta, GA

According to Webster the definition of education is “the things a person learns by being taught.” This definition proves correct the common assumption that, in an academic environment, the student learns while the teacher instructs; however, education is not a simple process or a one-way exchange of information. Classroom environments are similar to modern telephone systems in which information is mutually shared between callers “on the line.” An ideal educational system is one in which the phone lines are constantly busy and thriving with communication. Unfortunately, in modern American education, the phone lines are outdated, rarely used, and in need of serious repair. In order to serve the purpose of a true education, schools should refurbish their telephone system, openly advertise new communication possibilities, and provide teachers with ample time to chat with their students.
Communication is essential to the success of instruction in the classroom. If instructors do not know how to deliver information to students in a comprehendible manner, then their students cannot succeed in learning. Kyoko Mori noted that “No matter what and how we [teachers] teach, we believe that what we value the most is beyond our meager ability to describe.” Inadequate teachers are not familiar enough with the material they teach, and timidly approach new subjects. In contrast, great teachers rigorously study their material, and are confident while instructing students. If school administrations were to only hire teachers with a burning passion for education and skill for communication, their phone lines would be fully restored.
While teachers are essential to proper classroom instruction, the participation of their students is also paramount to the success of education. Teachers should demonstrate knowledge of their lessons and encourage students to freely ask questions in class. By witnessing the passion of their teachers each day, students should be inspired to learn and communicate in the classroom. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s perception of education, “One [student] burns to tell the new fact, the other (student) burns to hear it.” Fervor to learn and expand the mind should be perverse in educational systems, driving all students to make phone calls and become actively involved in their education.
The final problem, in modern educational systems, is the perpetually decreasing amount of time teachers are allotted to create and deliver their lessons. Always pressed for more time, many teachers struggle to cover the ever expanding instructional material they are required to teach. In addition, the little time educators have to plan their lessons and grade papers is often stolen by school administrators through faculty meetings, duty requirements, and other workday interruptions. Emerson’s Education agrees with this thought as he asks schools to “leave this military hurry and adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience.” If teachers were given more time in which to plan and teach their lessons, without constant interruptions, the quality of instruction would increase dramatically.
Ideally, school should be the place in which students feel enriched with information and enthusiastic about their education. Instructors should slowly and meticulously work through instructional material, assuring that the entire class is involved and interested in the task at hand. Unfortunately, in many of today’s schools, time is cut down, requirements are multiplied, and the quality of education slips beneath par. School administrations should realize the negative effect their actions can have on the educational process and become progressive in their attempts to renovate the broken down phone lines.

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