E ducere

— A number of colleges recently revealed that it has become commonplace to offer remediation classes to entering freshman. Remediation classes? 

Who is responsible for this?  Why are so many high school graduates unable to do college work? Let’s start with what we perceive education to be.   

Here is my take on this: the word education comes from two Latin words, e and ducere which together means to “lead out of.” To educate and to teach means to lead, to promote, to coach, to encourage.  What does that mean? In any classroom there is a dynamic, a three-way dynamic, operating. There are the teacher, the subject matter and the student. The teacher provides the means by which the student engages in the subject matter, the student being the most active participant in learning process. Students are not empty vessels that sit in classroom seats waiting to be filled up with the accumulated knowledge of their instructors. The teacher guides, reformulates, demonstrates, opens doors, but ultimately the student has to walk through. Learning is an active, not a passive activity. A lot believe otherwise. Their mantra goes something like, “I pay my taxes for you to teach my kid. Fix it!”

Each student comes to the classroom with different skills, different abilities and while the teacher can accommodate these differences to a degree in the classroom setting, each student will ultimately have to do the work necessary for mastery given his or her skill set.   Just as in sports, some catch on quickly, some need more work.  In sports this is known as practice, in academics, it is known as HOMEWORK.  Yes, yes, there are legitimate complaints about the amount of homework that some children receive, but homework is a necessity.  First, because there simply isn’t enough time during the school year to delve into all of the materials. Secondly, homework can reinforce classroom learning or provide the backdrop for the next day’s classroom activities. Finally, this is the time where a student’s needs for individuation can be met.   

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