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Education carried out by government and also private sector requires a real operating expenses height. Most all sector is relating to education must be bought. Book, chalk, ruler, and teaching aid readily uses for example, must be bought. Therefore, education requires cost.

Presumption like that not then is followed up with closing eyes and ear with interest places forward commercial factor than social. Education is not commodity, but effort carries out system and certain mechanism that man is able to improve; repair their/his self, can make balmy itself, and solvent of interaction as man.

Education paradigm growing in Indonesia in this XXI century step by step has started leaves aspiration of the founders this republic nation-state that is that every citizen entitled to get education that is competent. The republic founders aware to that performing of the education are addressed to makes man is humanitarianly and can make process towards at fullness of spirit hence would very ironic with situation of education these days.

The Role of the Government and Private sector

Education is responsibility of all suborder. By referring this assumption, education organizer is not merely government but also entangles the side of private sector individually and also group. Thereby, governmental hoped all members of publics responsible educate Indonesian.

Despitefully, because of limitation of cost, governmental given opportunity of it’s bigger to public to participate and develops business through education. This assumption comprehended by public by building opening school, courses, or skilled education type with facility that is better than school build and owned government. By giving supporting facilities for education that is rather differs in, rather complete, and promises makes education managed the side of private sector must be redeemed with cost that is not is cheap. So expensive education.

Indonesia has ever owned Perguruan Taman Siswa carrying out education for public? People with motivation educate public? People. Indonesia also has education system of pesantren (Islamic models) which is not collects payment which in the form of money from it’s the student. Student in pesantren modeled this salaf (classical) not only studies public sciences (like biology, physics, mathematics, language, and art) they also studies Islam science for the sake of individual and public.

Without realized already happened friction of motivation of organizer and the management of the existing education. Education organizer of private sector tends to sells dream with equipment of facility which they perform. They disregard condition of Indonesia public most doesn’t have purchasing power and energy? Power to bargain. Pupil old fellow will be given on to reality “expensive school” and “go to school for rich man children”.

Of course, must also be confessed that the school requires cost. However, collects expense of height for education is a real wrong deed; more than anything else in Constitution 1945 has expressed that any citizen [is] entitled to get education.

Capitalist: Having Under the Law

Shifts it purpose of education levying from formulated by the Republic of Indonesia founders is really peeping out suborder concern. If education only be carried out just for man who is having money, hence the biggest layer of Indonesia public? People will not have formal education. Poor people and people, who don’t have purchasing power, will yield apathetic generation. Thereby, will lose also one civilization links a nation.

Education carried out with only menitikberatkan at present financial advantage will only make man is more individually and once in a while overrules that the man basically is created autonomous. Tendency and dependency to get it’s (the capital returns will make education product to enable all ways, machiavelistical.

Other side, education system this time makes detached man from it’s (the area and sometimes abstracted from its (the community root. Properly is critical that education system this time makes educative participant not autonomous and sometimes forgets spirit to as social creature or according to opinion Aristotle’s that the man Zoon Politicon.

Semestinyalah had if education aimed at accomplishment of copartner ship standard (company) must be refused. Ideally, education must load agenda for “humanizes man” (humanization), non dehumanization. By collecting expense of height because law barium; by itself education has been transferred to accomplishment of industrial requirement. More than anything else in Indonesia, diploma is respectable reference and the only equipment to get work that is competent.

By positioning education carried out by government and also law barium private sector must, public trapped at acute dilemma. In one public sides requires education to increase it’s the humanity reality, medium on the other side no cost is small monster or endless nightmare.

Tussle between fears and desire of public to send to school it’s the children exploited by certain party sides. This condition is a real condition profits if evaluated from the aspect of business. Panic buyers are really condition hardly to the advantage of my pelaku-pela is business.

Opinion: Education is Sacral Factor

Indonesia Public till now still of opinion that formal education is equipment the only to improve; repair life, to get work with good production, good salary, and to fulfill primary requirements, beside can boost up degree. This assumption by generations and always is looked after causing peeps out assumption and places formal education as thing which sacral.

Though all formal education, vocational school is not interesting means. As it’s (the impact, vocational schools teaching is skilled becoming not draws. Vocational school is school for member of marginal public. Vocational school teaching how facing and draws up life is assumed not elite and ancient. Despitefully, vocational school is not place of for rich man children, but majored for children from poor family.

Social Lameness as poison impact goad to school which only is enjoyed by rich man children will peep out oppressed feeling and not balmy among poor people. Poor public of which cannot send to school it’s (the children will assume it as destiny which must be received and assumes it as penalization of God. Irony, of course. But this is reality when schools becomes is expensive and poor people [shall] no longer have place in school.

Minister of National Education in Indonesia for the existing likely increasingly far from nationality vision. Even with movement of schools autonomy increasingly clearly shows capitalization symptom of education. Now education is managed by using management of business that is then yields cost is sky. Expense of education more and more expensive, even impressed has become business commodity for the owner of capital (capitalist). By using pre-eminent school label, favorite school, peer school etcetera expense of education increasingly strangles poor people. Our education increasingly grinds marginal clan. Where situation of our education justice if certifiable school of that is just for they having money only?

While as man who sure is normal of public will choose best life. However, because of its (the disability and its (the kepicikan in looking at education problem, its (the objectivity is also disappears. Indonesia Public of course requires resuscitation that education is one essential part to improve; repair quality of it’s (the humanity. Of course, there is no guarantee that education will make people to become rich, influential, famous, and in command.

Cover? Conclusion

Debate of length still need to be strived before Indonesia public can look into formal education as not the only equipment to improve; repair its(the life. Public must realize formal education is not as of its (the pitch.

Resuscitation need to be trained to pebisnis. School that is till now is viewed as the only equipment which able to be used to reach for and can realize its (the aspiration is not farm to get advantage. Therefore, not righteously school utilized as means to make a living. In school still and ought to slip between idealism, so that there is no reason again to expensive of education that is with quality, complete supporting facilities, and has various facilities.

5 Things to Know About Free Appropriate Public Education and Special Education

Do you have a child with autism or a learning disability and you are concerned about their education? Does your child with Dyslexia struggle with their academics even though they are receiving special education services? Free Appropriate Public Education is a right for all children receiving special education services. This article will discuss 5 things that you will need to know about FAPE, to help your child receive it.

1. The legal definition of FAPE is: special education and related services that are designed to meet the child’s unique needs, gives meaningful benefit, and has been given at no charge to the parents. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) includes and Individual Education Plan that is designed to meet the child’s unique educational needs and gives meaningful benefit.

2. The Supreme Court Case that gave us this definition of FAPE is Board of Education Vs. Rowley 458 US 176 in 1982. You may be able to use this case in the future if you have a dispute with your school district over FAPE.

3. In the Rowley Case the justices determined that there are two areas that must be met to determine if a child with a disability is receiving FAPE:

A. Procedural Requirements: Did the district follow the correct procedural requirements and provisions in developing the child’s IEP?

B. Will the IEP developed by the school district give the child meaningful educational benefit.

If either one of these is not done by the school district, then it means that the child is not receiving a free appropriate public education.

4. IDEA 2004 states that a procedural violation must rise to the level of substantive violation, to constitute a lack of FAPE. In other words the procedural violation must be a major violation, in order to be a violation of FAPE. Some hearing officers and courts have found that parents being denied the ability of being an equal participant in their child’s IEP, is a substantive violation which is a denial of FAPE.

5. A new recent court case N.R. vs. Kingwood Township the court states that the IEP must allow the child: significant learning and give meaningful benefit. Use this definition to determine if your child’s IEP is going to allow them significant learning and give meaningful benefit.

By understanding what Free Appropriate Public Education is and having knowledge of court cases you will be able to help your child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education.

Is Critical Thinking Overrated or Under-Utilized in Higher Education?

Critical thinking is listed as a desired skill or preferred outcome within many higher education courses. It is something that students are expected to demonstrate through their involvement in the class and learning activities. It may be listed in a rubric and/or stated in the course syllabus, depending upon the requirements of the program or the school itself. There may be varying degrees as to how it is demonstrated and then evaluated, ranging from occasionally to always within a rubric description. It is a common practice to provide students with the course rubrics at the start of class; however, the question becomes: Do students usually know what critical thinking means? Do instructors or schools provide a standard definition?

Additional questions that arise include: Do instructors understand the meaning of critical thinking and are they provided with an explanation by the school? These are questions that I sought to answer and I spent over two years talking to instructors and students about this topic. There is information that is readily available, such as websites devoted to critical thinking and a few books about this topic, and there are classes that spend an entire term examining it; however, what does the average student and instructor know about this topic? How is it utilized in classes if it is stated in a rubric? What I wanted to learn is whether or not critical thinking is overrated (which means it is not actively utilized in classes and is only a catchphrase) or is it underutilized (which means it holds greater potential than is recognized now) in higher education classes.

Instructor Perspective

My perspective is primarily based on my work in the field of distance-learning as an online educator and faculty development specialist, which has included the role of online faculty peer reviewer. I have reviewed hundreds of online classes and discussed critical thinking with hundreds of online faculty. What I’ve learned is that the average instructor may have a general knowledge about critical thinking and what it means; however, faculty generally do not provide an explanation for students beyond what is stated in the course rubric. I did not observe it as an active discussion or explained through additional instructional posts or supplemental information, and I also didn’t observe detailed notes about it within the feedback provided.

What do instructors generally know about critical thinking? For those who have conducted some research they will find definitions that are related to logic and reasoning. However, the usual go-to definition or explanation is Bloom’s taxonomy and this provides levels of cognition that can help instructors recognize when a state of critical thinking has been attained. What is unclear is whether or not a one-time occurrence indicates that students know how to use the skill on a regular basis. What are instructors taught by the schools? They are usually told to use questioning techniques and specifically Socratic questioning by a few schools. What I’ve observed is that even when questions are used that doesn’t necessarily mean a follow-up reply by students will demonstrate use of this skill.

Student Perspective

When students were asked to define what critical thinking means, the following is a list of the most common answers:

Thinking outside of the box
Thinking harder about the topic
Problem-solving
An ability to think independently
Weighing options, the pros and cons
Being rational and avoiding emotions
Making decisions, such as going to the grocery store and deciding on meal options
Becoming curious, creative, and open-minded
Learning through trial and error
Knowing what to do in life threatening situations
Making intelligent decisions
Collaborating with others to reach a consensus

This is only a partial list of the responses from students, and these were undergraduate and graduate students. After reviewing this list becomes clear that without a standard definition of critical thinking, students may not fully understand what is expected when they see it listed in a course rubric. It can also explain why it is difficult to evaluate this as a skill for an instructor and why students may come up short in their evaluation. What I’ve found is that students rarely conducted their own research about this subject and if they did they still weren’t sure if their definition was matched to their instructor’s definition, how it applies to their class and learning activities, or how to meet the requirement as listed in the rubric.

Logical Perspective

I’ve reviewed many of the available online resources to ascertain what instructors and students might read about critical thinking and it was often related to the use of logic and reasoning. The same is true for an online class I’ve taught that was six weeks in length and combined critical thinking with creative thinking. The logical perspective explained in the course materials involved looking for facts instead of opinions, evaluating arguments, examining premises, developing a logical or rational conclusion, and learning about potential fallacies. What this did was to take a subject that students were already unclear about and make it even more complex and challenging to apply directly to their classwork. Students generally struggled throughout the entire course and by the time it concluded there was little improvement in their ability to demonstrate the use of this skill.

Cognitive Perspective

Bloom’s taxonomy is referenced frequently by faculty and this taxonomy provides a range of cognitive or mental functions that begin with lower order thinking and progress to higher order thinking. On the lower end is the ability to recall information, which is usually held in short term memory and quickly discarded. As higher cognitive functions are engaged a student may be able to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. There are action verbs that are generally associated with each level and this is helpful for the development of course objectives. The challenge for instructors is making a determination of how to explain cognitive functions to students so that they understand what it means to demonstrate critical thinking. For example, how does a student know when to analyze or synthesize information in a discussion post or written assignment? Do they know when they have achieved development of this skill? Does answering an instructor’s question ensure they have reached a higher cognitive state? How many times do they need to demonstrate use of this skill to believe they have mastered its use? This is the challenge for educators; the uncertainty of the use of this skill and how to accurately assess it.

A New Perspective

What I propose is the use of a simpler model that explains how the mind functions or operates, which can provide a uniform description for instructors and students. As a starting point, the mind is always active and thinking is a natural process. A helpful way to understand how the mind performs is to separate thinking into three specific types, which will explain why critical thinking requires practice to learn before it can be actively used as a skill. The most basic type is simply called thinking or the automatic thought processes. This occurs naturally and includes thoughts about the current environment, along with thoughts that are based upon physical needs, emotions, or external stimuli. It also consists of self-talk, internalized dialogue, superficial thoughts, established thought patterns, habits of thinking, and existing mental structures. Automatic thinking also occurs as data is acquired through the five senses, when the mind relies upon perceptual filters to interpret the information received.

The next type is active thinking and this occurs when a person become consciously aware of their thought processes or while the mind is intentionally processing information. As an example, consider advertising messages. If an advertisement is noticed the mind would transition from automatic thinking to active or conscious thinking and awareness. Active thinking also includes reading, writing, speaking, stating opinions, and problem solving through the use of informal logic. For example, if a financial analysis is needed it would require taking numbers and putting them into a format or equation to be calculated, categorized, manipulated, or any other form of computation. Active thinking is often what students believe critical thinking consists of when they state it is a matter of “thinking hard” about a topic or subject. They are consciously aware of the topic and recalling the knowledge they currently possess about it.

The third type of thinking is critical thinking, which is not automatic and must be activated. It can be activated for a specific purpose and learned to be utilized as a skill. Students can trigger it when they need to work with more than their existing knowledge, beliefs, and opinions. It can also be activated through something unexpected, unknown, or unique. More importantly, critical thinking is done with a purpose. For example, when a student needs to research a topic and the subject is presently unknown to them. Instead of filling their paper with direct quotes they can question the information received in an attempt to find answers. It can also enhance problem-solving when a student needs an answer they cannot arrive at on their own. When students write papers they can provide more of their analysis and less from their sources because they have examined evidence and re-examined their beliefs or assumptions.

Transformative Perspective

Critical thinking has the potential to transform every aspects of a student’s performance, from discussion question responses to written assignments. Students first learn to work with their accumulated knowledge, beliefs, and opinions. That is how they develop an initial response and for many students that also becomes their final answer. But educators want students to move beyond this active form of thinking and demonstrate that learning has occurred. It is easy to ask students to demonstrate critical thinking but even more challenging to develop a mental model for them to follow and that means it must be prompted so that students watch it in action and can then emulate the process. Thinking becomes critical when students provide more than a superficial or cursory response, and in place of opinions they develop well-documented and well-research position statements and analyses.

Critical thinking is not a natural process although there are times when it is possible for adults to have a period of reflection when they are prompted by unplanned or unexpected changes. Thinking also becomes critical when students no longer rely upon perceptual filters to determine what is accepted as true and correct, with a willingness to evaluate beliefs and change when they find compelling evidence. Critical thinking can be most effectively taught through the use of a detailed explanation, time to practice what is being learned, and direct application of the skill to issues and problems, which means that any time this skill is listed as a requirement for a course, students need a standard definition and an opportunity to practice it. I do not believe that critical thinking is overrated as it is transformative in nature; however, what I’ve observed in the field of distance learning is that it is under-utilized because of a lack of a uniform method of explaining it and this results in a missed opportunity for learning in higher education classes.

Dr. Bruce A. Johnson is an innovative educator with experience in higher education as an online instructor and college professor, along with work as a corporate trainer and manager of a corporate training development.

Dr. J has developed expertise in his career with adult education, distance learning, online teaching, faculty development, organizational learning, and instructional design.

The Difference Between Being Smart, Educated, and Intelligent

I’ve always been intrigued by the subject of intelligence. As a child my mother would refer to me as “smart,” but I quickly noticed that all parents refer to their children as smart. In time I would discover that all children are not smart, just as all babies are not cute. If that were the case, we’d have a world full of beautiful, smart people – which we don’t.

Some of us are smart; but not as smart as we think, and others are smarter than they seem, which makes me wonder, how do we define smart? What makes one person smarter than another? When do “street smarts” matter more than “book smarts”? Can you be both smart and stupid? Is being smart more of a direct influence of genetics, or one’s environment?

Then there are the issues of education, intelligence and wisdom.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What’s the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQs really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

My desire to seek answers to these questions inspired many hours of intense research which included the reading of 6 books, hundreds of research documents, and countless hours on the Internet; which pales in comparison to the lifetime of studies and research that pioneers in the fields of intelligence and education like Howard Gardner, Richard Sternberg, Linda S. Gottfredson, Thomas Sowell, Alfie Kohn, and Diane F. Halpern whose work is cited in this article.

My goal was simple: Amass, synthesize, and present data on what it means to be smart, educated and intelligent so that it can be understood and used by anyone for their benefit.

PRENATAL CARE

With this in mind, there was not a better (or more appropriate) place to start than at the very beginning of our existence: as a fetus in the womb.

There is mounting evidence that the consumption of food that’s high in iron both before and during pregnancy is critical to building the prenatal brain. Researchers have found a strong association between low iron levels during pregnancy and diminished IQ. Foods rich in iron include lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, seafoods, nuts, dried fruits, oatmeal, and fortified cereals.

Children with low iron status in utero (in the uterus) scored lower on every test and had significantly lower language ability, fine-motor skills, and tractability than children with higher prenatal iron levels. In essence, proper prenatal care is critical to the development of cognitive skills.

COGNITIVE SKILLS

Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn. They include a wide variety of mental processes used to analyze sounds and images, recall information from memory, make associations between different pieces of information, and maintain concentration on particular tasks. They can be individually identified and measured. Cognitive skill strength and efficiency correlates directly with students’ ease of learning.

DRINKING, PREGNANCY, AND ITS INTELLECTUAL IMPACT

Drinking while pregnant is not smart. In fact, it’s downright stupid.

A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that even light to moderate drinking – especially during the second trimester – is associated with lower IQs in offspring at 10 years of age. This result was especially pronounced among African-American rather than Caucasian offspring.

“IQ is a measure of the child’s ability to learn and to survive in his or her environment. It predicts the potential for success in school and in everyday life. Although a small but significant percentage of children are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, many more children are exposed to alcohol during pregnancy who do not meet criteria for FAS yet experience deficits in growth and cognitive function,” said Jennifer A. Willford, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Paul D. Connor, clinical director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington has this to say about the subject:

“There are a number of domains of cognitive functioning that can be impaired even in the face of a relatively normal IQ, including academic achievement (especially arithmetic), adaptive functioning, and executive functions (the ability to problem solve and learn from experiences). Deficits in intellectual, achievement, adaptive, and executive functioning could make it difficult to appropriately manage finances, function independently without assistance, and understand the consequences of – or react appropriately to – mistakes.”

This is a key finding which speaks directly to the (psychological) definition of intelligence which is addressed later in this article.

ULTRA SOUNDS

Studies have shown that the frequent exposure of the human fetus to ultrasound waves is associated with a decrease in newborn body weight, an increase in the frequency of left-handedness, and delayed speech.

Because ultrasound energy is a high-frequency mechanical vibration, researchers hypothesized that it might influence the migration of neurons in a developing fetus. Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations. Any interference or disruption in the process could result in abnormal brain function.

Commercial companies (which do ultrasounds for “keepsake” purposes) are now creating more powerful ultrasound machines capable of providing popular 3D and 4D images. The procedure, however, lasts longer as they try to make 30-minute videos of the fetus in the uterus.

The main stream magazine New Scientist reported the following: Ultrasound scans can stop cells from dividing and make them commit suicide. Routine scans, which have let doctors peek at fetuses and internal organs for the past 40 years, affect the normal cell cycle.

On the FDA website this information is posted about ultrasounds:

While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. In light of all that remains unknown, having a prenatal ultrasound for non-medical reasons is not a good idea.

NATURE VERSUS NURTURE…THE DEBATE CONTINUES

Now that you are aware of some of the known factors which determine, improve, and impact the intellectual development of a fetus, it’s time for conception. Once that baby is born, which will be more crucial in the development of its intellect: nature (genetics) or nurture (the environment)?

Apparently for centuries, scientists and psychologists have gone back and forth on this. I read many comprehensive studies and reports on this subject during the research phase of this article, and I believe that it’s time to put this debate to rest. Both nature and nurture are equally as important and must be fully observed in the intellectual development of all children. This shouldn’t be an either/or proposition.

A recent study shows that early intervention in the home and in the classroom can make a big difference for a child born into extreme poverty, according to Eric Turkheimer, a psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The study concludes that while genetic makeup explains most of the differences in IQ for children in wealthier families, environment – and not genes – makes a bigger difference for minority children in low-income homes.

Specifically, what researchers call “heritability”- the degree to which genes influence IQ – was significantly lower for poor families. “Once you’re put into an adequate environment, your genes start to take over,” Mr. Turkheimer said, “but in poor environments genes don’t have that ability.”

But there are reports that contradict these findings…sort of.

Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware, wrote in her article, The General Intelligence Factor that environments shared by siblings have little to do with IQ. Many people still mistakenly believe that social, psychological and economic differences among families create lasting and marked differences in IQ.

She found that behavioral geneticists refer to such environmental effects as “shared” because they are common to siblings who grow up together. Her reports states that the heritability of IQ rises with age; that is to say, the extent to which genetics accounts for differences in IQ among individuals increases as people get older.

In her article she also refers to studies comparing identical and fraternal twins, published in the past decade by a group led by Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., of the University of Minnesota and other scholars, show that about 40 percent of IQ differences among preschoolers stems from genetic differences, but that heritability rises to 60 percent by adolescence and to 80 percent by late adulthood.

And this is perhaps the most interesting bit of information, and relevant to this section of my article:

With age, differences among individuals in their developed intelligence come to mirror more closely their genetic differences. It appears that the effects of environment on intelligence fade rather than grow with time.

Bouchard concludes that young children have the circumstances of their lives imposed on them by parents, schools and other agents of society, but as people get older they become more independent and tend to seek out the life niches that are most congenial to their genetic proclivities.

4 Definitions in NCLB About Reading That You Can Use to Help Your Special Education Child!

Do you have a child with autism or a learning disability, who is receiving special education services, but is still struggling to learn to read? Would you like to learn a few definitions of reading from NCLB that you could use to advocate for your child? No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed January 8, 2002 and focuses on educational instruction and methods that have been proven to work to teach children. This is important because the curriculum used by many school districts are ineffective and outdated. This article will discuss 4 definitions that will help you in your advocacy for your child.

Definition 1: Reading: Reading means a complex system of getting meaning from print that requires all of the following. These are: skills and knowledge to understand phonemes, or speech sounds that are connected to print; the ability to decode unfamiliar words (break the words down to their parts); the ability to read fluently; sufficient vocabulary to allow for good reading comprehension; maintenance of a motivation to read.

This definition is important, because it describes the necessary skills that are needed for a child to learn to read. As a parent you can be involved with your child’s education and make sure that they are learning these skills, at an early age.

Definition 2: 5 Essential components of reading instruction that are shown to bring about early reading success! Phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and identify sounds in spoken words). Phonics (the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language). Fluency (the capacity to read accurately and quickly). Vocabulary: (the words students must know to communicate in an effective manner). Comprehension (the ability to understand and give meaning from what has been read).

You need to make sure that any curriculum used to teach your child to read, has these 5 necessary components. Ask school personnel to show you in writing, that these 5 components are included in your child’s curriculum.

Definition 3: Scientifically Based Research means that there is reliable evidence that the program, curriculum, or practice works. This means that any program that school districts use must have research, backing the fact that it works to help children learn. Also, for any curriculum to be scientifically research based, it must have been accepted by a peer reviewed journal, or approved by independent experts through a rigorous, objective, and scientific review.

Ask your special education personnel to please show you in writing that your child’s reading (and other academics) curriculum is scientifically research based, and also that it has been accepted by a peer reviewed journal. Ask for the research in writing so that you can see for yourself if the curriculum is proven to work.

Definition 4: Diagnostic Reading Assessment: The term means an assessment (test) that is valid, reliable and based on scientifically based reading research. The assessment must identify the child’s specific strengths and weaknesses, so that the child can learn to read by the end of the third grade, determine the difficulties the child has in learning to read, and helping to determine possible reading intervention strategies and related special education needs.

An appropriate assessment is critical to determine what skills your child still needs to learn to help them read, and also what curriculum would be appropriate to help them learn.

Use these 4 definitions to advocate for your child in the area of Reading! If a child does not learn to read early it will be very difficult to catch up skills that they missed. Keeping this in mind use these 4 definitions to advocate for your child in the area of Reading!

Educating Yourself to Succeed

The Question

Education is held by our society to be one of the keys to success. Certainly, there are certain professions in which formal academic education is a prerequisite not to success itself, but rather just to get into the front door of the profession.

The question we need to ask is whether or not formal academic education as offered in the current structure of our society is in fact a prerequisite, or even a significant help in achieving success in general (as opposed to within a specific profession) and what are the underlying reasons for this.

What is Success?

Before we can do this we need to decide exactly what we mean by success. It has been defined by some as ‘the progressive realisation of a worthwhile dream, goal or ideal’, and this is a good definition, but lacks some of the specificity we need to truly determine the role of education in achieving it.

For the purposes of this article I am going to define success as the following.

Achieving a progressively improving state of making a meaningful contribution with integrity, good health, good relationships, material abundance, and self determination.

To further explore what this actually means, what I am saying is that;

To be successful is to be making a positive difference in some way, whilst acting in good faith, looking after your health, enjoying and building strong meaningful relationships, being able to do all of this without concern caused by lack of resources, but rather based on what is good and right, and finally, to be in control of your own life and not reduced to unwilling servitude by slavery, ignorance or an oversized mortgage.

Does Formal Academic Education Teach Us to Do This?

If we judge by the results in our western societies, where nearly everyone has had some education, the majority have finished High School, and a great many have gone on to college. We have to seriously question the true value of formal education to the success of the individual.

By the rates of suicide, drug use, depression, and hopelessness in our society, we can infer that there are some deficiencies in our education system in so far as teaching people to make a contribution they see as meaningful.

By both the increasing obesity, diabetes levels and drug problems in our society we can judge that the education system is ineffective in teaching people to be healthy.

By the divorce rates and level of violence we can make an indicative judgement as to the effectiveness of our education system in teaching people to get along and build strong relationships.

By the level of dependence on welfare, the levels of homelessness and the levels of relative poverty in the richest nations in the world, we can take a good guess as to effectiveness of our education system in teaching people to create material abundance in their own lives.

By the by the mere existence of Blue Monday and TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), we know there are enough people who are forced to do something at least 5 days a week that they would rather not have to do, so we can gauge the effectiveness of our education system to teach people self determination.

I hope this is not too harsh for you, but it is the way it seems from where I sit.

Why is Our Formal Education System so Ineffective?

What nobody tells us is that our existing formal education system is either unable to teach us how to be successful, nor designed to teach us to become successful.

The education system as it currently exists, is based on the needs of an industrial aged society. In the industrial age our own personal interests were in conflict with those of the larger society and of those in power.

Let’s look at Relationships

During the early industrial age, when the current system of education took its early froms, we lived in a predominantly patriarchal society in which very few women ever dared to leave their husbands, and husbands therefore didn’t actually need to know how to keep their wives happy, similarly, wives just had to be submissive and obedient and that was enough, the marriage lasted for life.

Nowadays, when we have so much freedom to enter and leave relationships without for the most part significant repercussions, we actually need to know how to keep the other person happy. Yet we as a society still don’t have a structured means of educating everyone to have functional, long term, meaningful relationships.

What about Material Abundance and Self Determination?

What our industrial age government and society needed was producing tax payers. Society needed some entrepreneurs and business people to assume the risks, acquire the skills, employ these workers and provide capital, but there was still a need for the majority of people to be part of the working underclass.

To keep people going to work to produce for the country and pay taxes to the government, it was necessary to NOT teach them how to create financial independence, in fact it was necessary to actively teach them to be lifelong employees and live from paycheck to paycheck.

One of the effects of encouraging people to manage their long term financial position poorly, is the rise of the attitudes necessary for today’s consumerism, buy it now pay for it later, keep up with the Jones’s , my identity is created by what I own, and I want it all for me!

This mentality is great for keeping people in debt, keeping people locked into jobs, stimulating the economy, and, you guessed it, raising more taxes. It does not serve the individual in terms of creating long term financial independence, truly sustainable material abundance or achieving the self determination that comes with not being up to your eyeballs in debt.

How about Health?

I don’t really understand how our society can be so poorly educated about health as to be so unhealthy, I guess our addiction to (among other things) high fat, low nutrition fast food is tied in with our consumeristic, I want it yesterday lifestyle and attitude.

Whatever the cause, there is obviously money in unhealthy food and where there is money there is power to influence society, which of course means there is yet more money in unhealthy food, and in turn more power to influence.

A bit of a vicious circle, but one that at this point can only be broken by educating our children from a young age to exercise and eat healthy food, something that is obviously not being done in the current system, as evidenced by the growing problems with childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.

just based on this simple set of observations we can begin to see that a formal education is simply not teaching people to be successful.

The Point

The purpose of this article is not to whine about the formal education system, I only go down that path to make you aware of the need to take matters into your own hands, success education is one of the few areas of life where ‘vigilante’ action is a good thing.

The point of all of this is that if you are going to learn the skills, attitudes and knowledge you need to be truly successful you are going to have to seek that information out for yourself!

The information is out there, you just need to look for it, in biographies of successful people, in the countless books and audio programs on the market by the many experts in the world.

How do I Educate Myself to Succeed?

Reading

Reading books (both traditional hard copy and now days electronic) is the most powerful way to educate yourself.

Learning from the experiences of others who have gone before you can help you avoid making many of the same mistakes these pioneers have already made, it can stimulate your own thinking and help you find creative solutiosn to your own problems, and it can certainly broaden your thinking and your mind.

So start reading! Read a good mix of ‘How to’ books in your chosen field, biographies of great people, motivation books, books about success principles, philosophical books and make sure you read some of the classic self help books too (they may be old books but the principles they teach are timeless)

Listening

Whilst reading is vital, the problem with reading is that it takes dedicated, focused time, and in our busy world, listening to audio books, seminars, and other audio programs offers a great way to educate yourself in time that would otherwise be largely wasted.

If you have to sit in traffic twice a day, don’t just let that time be wasted time, stick a tape/CD/MP3 program on and use the time to teach and motivate yourself. Zig Ziglar calls this enrolling in ‘automobile university’. In my time in the military we used a principle called concurrent activity, which essentially means deliberately accomplishing multiple outcomes simultaneously, or “killing two birds with one stone” as the old cliche goes.

You can use this same principle by enrolling in Zigs University and making double use of your travel time.

Association

One of the greatest powers for human change is that of association. basically we have a strong tendency to become like, assume the attitudes of, and start to think and act like those we hang around.

This is why parents instinctively want to keep their children away from ‘the bad crowd’, however we can use the exact same principle to our advantage by deliberately hanging around the ‘good crowd’.

If we want to be healthy, we are better to hang around ‘health conscious’ people at a gym than ‘anesthetised unconscious’ people in a bar.

If we want to be wealthy, we need to make a deliberate effort to associate with wealthy people, not because we want them to give us anything, but because the way they think has led them to be wealthy, and we want to learn to think like them so we too can make ourselves wealthy.

Any group of people with the values and results you want to foster are candidates for association, however one of the best sources around are seminars and workshops on subjects relevant to what you are trying to accomplish.

Mentoring & Coaching

Having someone to whom you are held accountable for your performance or non performance is a great help in disciplining yourself to do what you need to do to get the results you want.

Coaching however is much more than that, a good coach will be able to give you ideas, encouragement and when you need it support to get you through the journey you are on. They can give you feedback from a more detached third party perspective, helping us see past our sometimes overwhelmingly personal involvement in a situation.

Getting yourself a good coach or mentor can definitely be a big help in educating yourself to succeed.

Go for it (and don’t quit)

These four things, reading, listening, association and coaching will give you the necessary resources to educate yourself to succeed.

Keep in mind that your current ‘education’ has taken you many many years to acquire, so you can’t expect change to be either instant or easy.

It is however very possible, and with your persistent determined effort definitely achievable, and when you start to see the results of your self administered success education, it is unquestionably worth the effort!

10 Challenges within the Educational System

1. There’s always one answer to a question

Throughout the process of partaking in systematized educational institutions, there’s always a criterion that applies to all the taught knowledge – That there’s an answer and it is absolute. Math shares the strongest characteristic of ability to freely choose how one goes about to arrive at the answer. Grammar rules have exceptions, but exceptions are also a form of indisputable truth. This does not mean that the questions, answers and methodologies change. They change to new answers that once again follow the criterion. Granted, they also change at a futilely slow rate.

More importantly, the education would contain questions that are without definite, objectively true answers, but several different ones that make sense depending on the student’s subjective perspective. Why is this of importance? The students get programmed that these questions are irrelevant since they are not spoken of. Accordingly, they have trouble living a life guided by personal values, ethics and patterns that correlate with each person’s own, innate orientation. The challenge is simply to allow and present more answers to young aspirants of life so that they know of more answers to choose from, that they previously did not know existed. Therefore, it may sometimes be far more important to question where an answer derives from, instead of how to reach it.

2. The search for proof

Strongly linked to the previous challenge, scholastic education is in search of a proof, which then presents its scholars the belief that the proof is fact. This may give rise to the notion that all personal growth pursuits in life should follow this same pattern. However, in some fields of personal advancement, one should acknowledge that a certain belief or faith is the starting point, thus resulting in an expected or unexpected form of proof. The proof will then shape its possessor’s perspective on the matter in a positive way either through subscribing to the new belief because it is useful and productive, or discarding it with the personal upgrade of understanding, that it amounts to less or no value in life. By narrowing a person down to only accepting the condition of “Show me the proof, and then I believe.”, the individual is limiting oneself from higher understanding on the realms of spirituality, theism, metaphysics, intuition, varying levels of consciousness within and beyond the ego, and the function, progression and meaning of life and death.

3. You should not cooperate in order to learn

This is a challenge that arises from how tests are conducted. I’m not saying it to be wrong for students to learn a sense of independence and responsibility from building a self referential database of knowledge. But ask any successful individual from any field of knowledge and they will state that especially in situations requiring crucial decisions, it is better to consult a mastermind council than to trust that the individual mind knows better or best. This goes for individuals who are aware of the power of mastermind councils that calibrate at an equal to higher level of consciousness, understanding and experience.

4. Group think and conformity

When all think alike, there’s not really any thinking going on. There’s an advantage behind everyone using the same grammar rules, scientific definitions and numeral base system. But that does not mean that the current grammar, definitions and decimal system are the most optimal ones to use. Additionally, this is a question not linked to the educational arena, but to the social one, creating an unhealthy norm of conformity regarding behaviour, looks, fashion, materialism and mind-sets. The educational setting should form a plaza with positive radiation where equality does not exclude diversity.

5. Being afraid or embarrassed to ask questions

This is a symptom of the previous challenge. Asking questions is a skill. The more you do it, the better questions you’re able to ask, producing knowledge of improved quality. The continuous loop of understanding and knowledge that is transferred in between people is the key foundation of future growth as a humanitarian, scientific, spiritual, wealthy and healthy society. Therefore, the courage and will to ask questions is an essential variable in this equation. That 13-year old, bullied girl with low self-esteem may not grasp this revelation because her understanding of herself is that she is mentally and intellectually defect compared to others and is supposed to adapt instead of break free from her internal chains of anxiety.

6. The lack of financial education

The processes of generating and allocating money may sound trifling and inessential, but this view is shared mostly by those not grasping the opposite, that it is a very prevalent and ubiquitous ability producing lifetime impacts. Educating the very basics of sound money management like leverage, delayed and instant gratification, assets and liabilities, good debt and bad debt, good income and bad income, good expenses and bad expenses, positive and negative compounding, cash flow and capital gains, the three vehicles of investments and how to measure wealth, to name a few, would foster productive results and a healthier perspective on money. It is the medium of exchange that has yet to see a better substitute, is the realization of provided value and by itself is inherently neither good nor bad. Simply put, what money is used for reveals each person’s appraised value of themselves. Only education has the power to shift financial ignorance into financial intelligence – whether done proactively or through painful lessons, which unfortunately may still keep the solutions obscured.

7. The lack of consciousness and self-help education

Closely related to the first two topics, personal growth is not a one-solution-fits-all form of science or branch of investigation. But simply discussing the numerous variations and alternatives of how to improve ones self-acting, -assertion, -command, -confidence, -consciousness, -control, -criticism, -dependence, -determination, -esteem, -examination, -knowledge, -possession, -praise, -respect, -restraint, -sufficiency, -support, and -will has an impact, if not for the conscious mind of a young student, then in the subconscious mind waiting to flourish once reality starts to present itself as shades of gray instead of definite answers of black or white. This in turn raises the question of balance between service to self and service to others. People cannot serve others with a greater magnitude and understanding than they are aware and capable of serving themselves. This is why the size of self-growth is the bar for how well a person can serve society and humanity, and is the primary in this causality (if you think in terms of causality). What the raise of personal and universal consciousness does, is raise the whole underlying balance of service into higher levels of influential power.

8. How not to diminish creativity

As it is now, the educational system favours left-brain measuring and analyzing over right-brain creativity and visualization. However, order and chaos in the mind ought to synergistically feed each other for improved input and output. As Bohm theorized there to be two universes, one hidden from our five sense and one distinguishable and definable by them, so does the right side of the brain use vision and creativity to imagine great architectural, musical, artistic, literary and cinematographic feats while the left brain uses the technicality, science, patterns and measures to materialize them into the tangible world. While one does not have to be completely ambidextrous in the mind, understanding of the interdependency of both sides of creation is of basic meaning. Thus, the current strong polarization of brain activity in schools is sub-optimal.

9. The 9 to 5 mentality

While the majority of people are naturally inclined to do things right, as they are told and when they are told, the educational system nourishes this behaviour to everyone attending. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this mentality. But as there are people strongly characterized by doing the right things, on their own accord, in level with their internal advancement, their orientation and meaning are clouded until the restraints of inefficient systematization are perceived as relatively weak enough to break free from – in order to create something new and improved. Again, equality and diversion can and are supposed to exist simultaneously and no human is worth more or less regardless of the point of observation.

10. The will to learn

The greatest challenge of them all is, how does one increase the youth’s interest and will to learn? The improvement of results in this category influences the other nine topics more than the nine separately influence the others. The ability for teachers to inspire a student to become a lifelong learner has long been failing. Just measure the amount of knowledge that is still remembered after a month has passed from the point of learning. Even students themselves may come to the conclusions that in order to input knowledge, another portion of knowledge is automatically discarded. Or that at a given age, the intellectual capacity has reached a boundary, futile to try to expand.

Conclusively, one cannot discuss the matter of education without bringing parenting into the equation. Therefore, I want to pinpoint the irony of parents fighting against a school system that would address greater effort in improving the 10 challenges discussed in this article, and yet not focus on delivering and discussing these issues of greater wisdom to and with the child themselves. This is why I wanted to write this article – to acknowledge the need that at least one of the sources of knowledge and understanding takes the responsibility of bringing forth the uniqueness and greatness that lies within every child that exists. There is no greater way for a child to express their gratitude towards both knowledge and their parents than to say out loud that they genuinely appreciate that at least one of these sources are and were present in partially creating and supporting their worldview and reality.

Education for the Advancement of Women and the Social Development of the Planet

Not often does it fall to individuals to be a part of history in the making. For the few who are given that privilege, its true value can only be estimated only in hindsight. More than 150 years ago in a garden at Badasht, Tahireh – Iranian poet and revolutionary – renounced her veil and before the stunned participants announced through the power of this deed a new age in the cause of women. Four years later, at the moment of her execution, she cried “You can kill me as soon as you like but you cannot stop the emancipation of women”.

One and a half centuries later, and a decade into a new millennium, I pause to remember Tahireh, and all those men and women since, who have kept the flame of her cause burning brightly down all the years and passed this torch on to our generation here today; another people, another land, another century. In my mind they remain with us, and will continue to inspire and guide us just as we too must inspire and guide the generations still to come.

The Connection Between Education and Emancipation
In the globally disseminated statement “The Promise of World Peace” the Universal House of Justice describes the important connection between education and discrimination, stating “…ignorance is indisputably the principal reason…for the perpetuation of prejudice.”

More and more we realise that if we are to change the cruel, destructive ways in which human beings treat one another, we must first change the way they think, and the things they value. Highlighting the supreme urgency of re-educating the souls and minds of humanity, H. G. Wells said “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”

A crucial aspect of this education which is necessary if we are to avert catastrophe and bring balance to the present state of disequilibrium, and which will eventually contribute to a new definition of humanity, is the process which some have called the ‘feminisation’ of the planet.

‘Abdu’l Baha, son of Baha’u’llah, Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Faith, described this process;

“The world in the past has been ruled by force and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the scales are already shifting, force is losing its weight, and mental alertness, intuition and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilisation will be more properly balanced.”

The first entry in Collins Dictionary defining the word education is ” the act or process of acquiring knowledge…”. This broad definition vastly extends the sphere of education beyond that limited and formalised type of education provided by the state school system. Clearly ‘the act or process by which we acquire knowledge’ takes place on many levels. One purpose of this paper is to identify some of the primary ways in which we have acquired our present beliefs about the role and value of the sexes, and to suggest positive directions for future educational change.

True Education Creates Enduring Change
The real value of education lies in how it permanently changes our behaviour and our thoughts. Professor B. F. Skinner offers this definition; “Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.” People can learn to behave in outwardly politically correct ways, but the real challenge is to so internalise new values that they become an inseparable part of the individual. This is what Baha’u’llah asks of us when He calls for us to become “a new race of men.” Steven Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” says “What we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.” How you behave in your day-to-day life is a truer indication of your inner beliefs than are the words you speak. For this reason we need to focus upon our deeds rather than our words. Baha’u’llah says “The reality of man is his thought, not his material body”. In seeking to promote the advancement of women, we need to retrain thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and values. We need to do this for ourselves as individuals, but we also seek to influence others at every level of our personal and collective lives.

A popular catch cry of feminism has been the statement that “The personal is political”. “The Promise of World Peace” describes how personal attitudes do indeed have political and international consequences, stating that denial of equality “promotes…harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations.”

In the article ‘Training for the Year 2000’, James Aggrey maintains that the education of girls is of the greater importance because “To educate a man is to educate a single individual, but to educate a woman is to educate an entire nation.” The words of William Ross Wallace that ‘The hand that rocks the cradle Is the hand that rules the world’ have become legendary.

An earlier quotation from ‘The Promise’ described how inequality promotes harmful attitudes and habits which men carry with them into all spheres of life. It continues by saying “Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge” and in the subsequent paragraph states “…it is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society.”

Here then are two key factors in the education and feminisation of our society;
* the education of women which will enable them to participate equally in all fields of human endeavour and in doing so become in themselves a source of education; a ‘feminising influence’ to others
* the crucial role played by women in the education of the coming generation

The Education of Men is Crucial to True Equality
It is impossible to consider the issue of the advancement of women as belonging to women alone. In fact the Universal House of Justice states it is an issue that men too must own;
“It is important to acknowledge that the wellbeing and advancement of men is impossible as long as women remain disadvantaged. Men can not be happy whilst women are oppressed, and neither can they hope to remain unaffected by the changes women are making for themselves. The growth and development of women needs to be balanced by complementary growth and development on the part of men.”

Poet and pacifist Robert Bly stated:

“Contemporary man is lost… damaged by a childhood lack of contact with a strong male figure to initiate him into manhood. He has become a “soft’ or naive’ male, who, by rejecting the aggressive and obnoxious male traits that he has been taught women dislike, has also abandoned the forceful and heroic aspects of masculinity, to the detriment of society.”

Androgyny in Sexuality Education

I was one of the pioneer batches in Singapore trained for Sexuality Education, and I think it was quite amazing that I’ve steered clear of this subject thus far. I think it is important, though, for all children to learn and accept themselves as they are, and so I come up with this article to help parents and educators on this aspect of a person’s sexuality.

For those who are thinking of trashy stuff, sorry to disappoint you – Sexuality Education is not Sex Education. Sex Education teaches about the physical and perhaps emotional aspects of coitus, and touches on topics like contraception and so on. Sexuality Education includes Sex Education, but that’s not the focus – the focus is on the person’s values and his ability to relate to himself and others in the chosen sexual orientation.

Singapore, unlike western countries, treaded cautiously on this subject. Plenty of religious and community leaders were consulted before the Ministry of Education finally decided we will do Sexuality Education rather than Sex Education. With values being such an important part of Sexuality Education, ideas like abstinence and protecting our bodies took a stronger centre stage rather that telling the kids how to use condoms to make sure they don’t get pregnant, since (not if!) they want to have sex at that age.

The issue of androgyny is an interesting one nowadays. With the rise of the Sensitive New Age Man (SNAG) in the magazines, and the prevalence of manga and anime from Japan (where the lead characters tend towards androgyny as well), such a man or woman has become more and more accepted in society.

Androgyny is a state where a man displays certain traits (physical or emotional) that society attributes towards women, or where a woman displays certain traits (physical or emotional) that society atttributes towards men. It comes from a combination of the Greek andros (man) and gyne (woman).

I am an example of an androgynous man. I’m most definitely a man (and not only because of my sexual organs!) but I display openly many behaviours that society attributes towards women. I am quite emotional, tears quite easily and speaks gently in a measured tone (one of the contractors I used to work with when I was in the Navy said that I’ve a “sweet voice”…now that’s scary when you hear it from a man!).

Not only that, but in looks and appearance, I’m rather like Legolas (the elf in the Lord of the Rings, as portrayed by Orlando Bloom) – slim and fair, with little body hair. This is so unlike Aragorn (portrayed by Viggio Mortensen), a dark bushy man with rippling muscles. And since I’m very sure I’m full of testerone (I’m hyperactive…and my wife can also testify to another reason why I’m definitely full of testerone), I must possibly have a stronger dose of estrogen in me than most man. Hmm…that perhaps explains the mood swings as well…

My wife, on the other hand, is considered a “hairy” woman (for a woman – she’s obviously less hairy than any man!). For her case though, I can’t tell if it’s because she has weaker estrogen levels for a woman, or she has stronger testerone levels for a woman. But her sexuality is definitely oriented towards that of a woman, while mine is most definitely towards that of a man, no question about it.

By now, astute readers should be aware that our bodily features assigned to masculinity and femininity is due to the balance of male hormones testerone and female hormones estrogen. Most men have very weak estrogen levels, while most women have very weak testerone levels.

Men with very strong estrogen levels may develop what the Chinese termed 脂粉味 (literally “smelling of perfume”). They look very, very feminine and may even develop breasts, for some extreme cases. Historically, such men have been looked down upon and have even created disasters, like Dong Xian, the “concubine” of a certain Han emperor.

Women with very strong testerone levels tend to be of strong build and large sizes. I suspect the Mu Yecha from the Chinese classic Outlaws of the Marsh would be such a character. Again, society tends not to be very accepting of such persons, labelling them “butches” and so on (more so if they from the military).

With the progress of thinking, a more cosmospolitan-outlook and the building of tolerance levels in the world today, we are getting more and more accepting of the androgynous look. The media has built in today’s woman a liking for the Sensitive New Age Man – a man who is a prince charming but yet not outwardly macho. Women like Grace Jones, Ella (from Chinese pop sensation S.H.E) and the winners of SuperGirls (in China) Li Yuchun (2005) have become stars in their own right, with millions of fans.

It’s a good sign. While God has made us man and woman, different and yet complimentary to each other, we should be allowed to express ourselves fully the entire range of human emotions and feelings, and to experience fully the many interactions with our environment. As long as the students understand that it takes more than being macho to be a man, or that a woman can be an engineer as well, I believe I’d have done my part as an educator.

Michael Chan used to be a teacher, before he left to run a managed fund. When his business failed, he returned to teaching, and is currently a Department Head at the Shanghai Singapore International School.

Challenges in Introducing Value Education at Higher Education in India

Value Education is the much debated and discussed subject in the plethora of education in India. Of course it is true that the main purpose of any education will go with Value orientation. More concentration on Value education has been given at the primary and secondary level of school education than in higher education in India. Values could be effectively imparted to the young minds rather than to the matured ones. It may be the important reason for this prime importance given at the school level. There are so many modules designed with the help of agencies like NCERT and others for effectively imparting the value education to the school students. In this context, many innovative educational practices are being identified by the experts. Good number of experiments and studies are being conducted in the recent days on the effectiveness of teaching value education at school level. Some schools have very innovative and radical course designs to impart the values.

Effective teaching practices in imparting value education ranges from story telling, exhibitions, skits, one act play and group discussions to various other formats. New methods have been evolved by educationists to create an effective learning sphere. The usage of electronic gadgets also gains importance in the teaching-learning practices of value education. But at the higher education level, due to various reasons, the importance given to value education is not as much as it is given at the school level. The curriculum and the teaching methods also could be subjected to scrutiny. It is true that colleges are meant for a kind of specialization in some field of education. But in the Indian social context, the youth require direction and counseling at this stage. They have been exposed to various challenges at this stage which demands the intervention of educationists for his/her betterment. His/her character building also strengthens at this juncture. Students’ perception on various life factors and events are getting shaped at this stage. On the whole they evolve their own philosophy of life. Their sensitivity and knowledge are getting direction at this stage. Hence, an effective value orientation becomes inevitable to the students of colleges. Keeping this requirement in mind, States like Tamilnadu introduced a compulsory paper/course on value education to undergraduate students of all colleges in the State under the choice based credit system. Though this kind of effort is made with the good intention of imparting values to the youth, many limitations in bringing out the expected outcome could be identified.

The problem mainly begins with the definition of values. Defining the term ‘value’ poses a challenge to all scholars. The term value is loaded with varieties of meaning. Each meaning reflects its own philosophical position. Generally the term value is spontaneously associated with religious values. It is believed by many Indians that values are nothing but the religious and spiritual guiding principles of life. Hence, it is supposed that the path is already been laid for the life journey. But in the context of modernity and modernism there rises a fundamental question of whether value education is required at all in a modern state. There are those who argue that modern life is based on science and technology, and both are value neutral. They view that the values are bugbear held out by people living in the past, glued to outdated religious principles that have no relevance to the 21st century. At this point, there is also another group of modernist who propagate the necessity of value education at learning centres in order to safe guard the democratic state and its values. The values they wish to cultivate are modern secular values such as honesty, respect to other, equality, collectivity, democracy, respecting the human rights, sharing equal space in the public sphere and so on. These values are considered as the products of enlightenment period. Hence, four positions could be arrived at on the basis of the above understanding. The are:
1. There are religious values which are very much essential for every one and must be included in the curriculum.
2. The religious values should not find place in the educational system. They may operate at the private sphere.
3. There are non-religious secular values and they must find space in the education.
4. There is no need for teaching value education in the academics because they cannot be cultivated through formal learning and such value cultivation will make the individual biased.

In consequence to these positions, following questions arouse.
1. Whether value education should find place in the educational system?
2. If it is required, then what sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum?
3. What is the importance to be given to the religious values which are primarily developed on the basis of scriptures?
4. Can modern values alone are sufficient enough or is there any possibility of blending the values of modernity with religious values?
5. If religious values are to be given importance in the curriculum, which religion will find prime place? If there are contradictory propagation on a single virtue by two religions, then how are they to be handled?
6. Similarly religions differ on the practices also. Right from eating patterns, dress mode, marriage systems, war tactics, killing, punishments to various other aspects, religions differ on their outlook. In this situation, what sort of perceptions need to be taught?

Besides these questions, another billion dollar question would be raised on the methodology of effectively imparting those values. Then again as it is mentioned earlier, the school education can very well include this education easily because the system itself is advantageous for it to accommodate. But at the college level, the system finds it very difficult to work out. So this study could analyse the theoretical problems relating to the identification of values to be included in the curriculum at the one side and the problem of effective designing of the curriculum and imparting those values on the other side.

II

The necessity for imparting values to the students of all levels has been felt by everyone. The world today is facing unprecedented socio-political and economic challenges. Problems of life are becoming increasingly intense and complex. Traditional values are decentered. ‘An environment of strife pervades all countries and broken homes have become common. An insatiable hunger for money and power, leads most of people to tension and absence of peace of mind and all kinds of physical and mental ailments have become common place” 1. In the present day context of frequent and often violent social upheavals, we have to look at the problem of restlessness of the youth, their frustration born out of futility of their search for meaning of life and the purpose for which they are living, often leading to evil and wickedness. This calls for a new approach to, and a new vision of education. It is obviously felt that the present educational system promotes rat race and keep the student community in a sense of insecurity. Educational institutions have become the pressure cookers building pressures in the minds of youth. Also a loft sided educational pattern which insists on instrumental and technical rationality for the successful life in terms of gaining money and power has invaded the educational system of India. The person who is deemed to be unfit for this survival race becomes disqualified and ineligible to live in this market economy based life. The spate of industrialization and economic growth in developed nations has brought about a perceptible change in this scenario. And developing countries including India are feeling the ripple effects of this development. Values earlier considered essential by all societies have been eroded and have given way to unethical practices around the globe. Where honesty and integrity were loved and appreciated, greed, corruption and red tapism have come in, bringing in their wake, unethical responses which have pervaded all walks of life and are thwarting efforts of a few enlightened individuals to promote value based society.2 Hence, implementation of well structured education is the only solution available with all states. With growing divisive forces, narrow parochialism, separatist tendencies on the one hand and considerable fall in moral, social, ethical and national values both in personal and public life on the other, the need for promoting effective programmes of value orientation in education has assumed great urgency. Development of human values through education is now routinely seen as a task of national importance. Value education though supposes to be the part and parcel of the regular education, due to the market influences, it could not be so. Hence, it has become an inevitable need to include an exclusive curriculum for value education at all levels.

Now the next question would be about the nature of value education. What sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum is the prime problem in the introduction of value education. This problem surfaces because we can find varieties of values prescribed on the basis of various scriptures and theories. Sometimes they are contradictory to each other. This issue has been thoroughly discussed earlier. But the solution to the problem of the nature of value education is primarily dependent on the social conditions that prevail in the state. There need not be an imported value educational pattern to be prescribed in India. The burning social issues would demand the required value education. Though India is considered to be the land of divinity and wisdom, the modern value system throws challenges to the ancient value pattern. Right from the Gurkula pattern to the varna ashrama values, all values are under scrutiny by modern rationality. Hence, the relevance of the golden values prescribed by the then society is questionable in the present situation. On the other hand, the so called modern values which have been listed earlier also subjected to criticism by philosophers like post modernists. They question the very nature of the rationality of the enlightenment period. Because critics of modernity strongly declare that the modern rationality is the reason for the deterioration of human concern in the world and they paved the way for inhuman killing and escalation of values. The reason of the modernism is considered as the root of power politics which leads to inhuman behaviour of the power system, according to them. Hence the modern values like democracy, civil rights, environmental ethics, professional ethics, discipline and all such values are found useless in bringing harmony in the society. The values like discipline, tolerance, peace bears the negative connotation in this context. Hence, what sort of modern values are to be included in the curriculum is a challenge thrown towards the educationists. At one side the fanatic and fundamentalist features of religious values and on the other side the modern values based on the market economy and other factors are to be excluded and a well balanced curriculum with genuine worthy values suitable to the society has to be identified and included in the educational system. In this context, it becomes obvious that there cannot be any universal pattern of values to be prescribed in the system. When a suitable blend of religious and modern values is to be done, the designing of such course demands an unbiased, scrupulous, intelligent approach on the part of the academician who designs such course. Thus the spiritual values of sensitizing the youth for happy world and rational values for a just world are very much required. Religious values can be taken but not with the label of any particular religion, democratic values are to be included but not with its dogmatic inhuman approach. Thus there need a perfect blend of both. This is the real challenge thrown to the Indian academicians.