Colleges as Training Grounds for Employment

Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers in history, said “education is the best provision of old age”. People learn and upgrade their skills and knowledge throughout their entire lives. Today, the number of students who decide to continue their education to college is greater than ever, due to the fact that the majority of rewarding careers created in the market demand higher education. With the growing requirements of today’s careers, the goals of education are more complex than ever. Nevertheless, the increased interest for college education resulted with loosened application standards, as well as a greater choice of programs and online accreditation courses. The changes are based on new technologies and educational methods that engage students in creative and critical thinking, but fail to prepare them for the real-world challenges.

Learning affects everyone’s life. We all go through times of intense and passive study that form our intelligence, base of knowledge and perception of the world. Studying is traditionally associated with school, where children have their first contact with a thorough, conscious and imposed way of learning. Although the process of learning is based on highly-individual practices, the educational system places everyone in the same general environment.

Throughout the development of the studies, the student is faced with abstract demands and has difficulties to implement the obtained knowledge into practice. When someone is found on a crossroad after graduating from high school, they are struggling to make a definite choice of an area they will specialize in. Due to that fact, the college educational system enables students to experiment with different courses until they find their focus. Although this approach is successful for some learners, it leaves others with a large base of knowledge that is incompatible with the requirements on the career market. Not all students are able to assemble the pieces of this mosaic and be completely prepared for a particular career when they graduate from college.

The concept of career readiness raises important questions about what we need to learn and how we can obtain knowledge in the most effective way. Although the ability to attend different courses helps students to gain greater general knowledge, it diminishes their genuine talents and life goals. The obvious choice of electives does not involve the most intriguing courses; the student usually goes with the less challenging options that require less work for a higher grade. Once they achieve the grade they aim for, students are not inspired to look back on the things they learned. This tendency to avoid risks does not reduce the psychological pressure of becoming “career ready”. Throughout our entire lives, we are constantly searching for ways to realize our inner potential. We won’t be able to achieve that unless we determine our final direction during our studies. Once students are on the right route, they have a sense of belonging and self-esteem that leads to real career readiness.

The main idea of education is to prepare people for a successful future. College professors have an important mission to enable students to move from the current point of life towards the future they see themselves in. However, the contemporary means of education do not shape the student’s prudence, wisdom and decency. The premise that education will save our society is wrong; it is the way we learn and educate that will change the world. The explosion of information and trivial knowledge does not improve people’s skills. Instead of preparing themselves for the future, college students are focused on memorizing facts that won’t help them solve problems in the real working environment. Although that type of knowledge does contribute towards an arrogant understanding that we are modern, most college students find themselves unprepared to face the real world after graduation.

A learner’s engagement and effectiveness is dependent on how well the educator uses teaching methods. As long as students are being pushed towards general knowledge and skills that are not associated to their career goals, the information they memorize will soon be forgotten. College professors do not have great influence over the trends of today’s educational system and its legal framework, but have absolute control over the teaching process. They need to understand the goals students want to achieve with education and compensate the weakness of general curriculums with practical lessons that will lead to pragmatic and functional knowledge.

The goal of college is not solely associated to shaping students’ skills; education also pays a crucial role in the development of their personalities. Today’s college system needs to be reshaped for students to obtain practical knowledge and skills that will help them overcome the gap between education and career progress. The ultimate aim of college education is establish a community of academic citizens that are actively engaged, enthusiastic and devoted to our society’s wellbeing. Instead of being focused on passive transfer of knowledge, academic writing assignments and exams, the curriculums need to include greater contact with the external world that would prepare students to benefit from greater career opportunities right after graduation.

Violence in Schools: Causes and Solutions

The problem with violence in all aspects of people’s lives has never taken so devastating measures as we witness today. Children are faced with aggression on the streets, in their homes, and in the cartoons they watch. This learnt behavior has become an integral part of their lives, but its motives and manifestations at schools often seem inconceivable. Despite the prevailing presence of brutal behavior among children, the problem of violence and bullying is not nearly elaborated as well as it should be.

Educators and schools fail to commit to substantial examination of the causes, effects, and possible solutions of this problem. The violence expressed by individuals at school is only a representation of the systematic confusion, assaults, and distorted values children are being subjected to. The solutions include edifying measures that will result from comprehensive analysis of the root of the problems and individualistic approach towards the troubled students.

During the last two decades, psychologists have been focused on the relation between the school environment and the signs of violence between students. However, the inability to validate school climate with empirical measures resulted with complex findings that are hard to comprehend. The power of a person over other individuals is not entirely measureable due to the diversity of the reasons for his actions, as well as the means used in different situations.

Slavoj Žižek, a respected philosopher and cultural critic, examines the ways people perceive and misperceive violence in his book Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. He states that terrorists, murderers, warriors, and other actors of “subjective” violence present the tip of the iceberg made up of “symbolic” violence, which is embodied in language, and “systematic” violence, which is the most dangerous form related to the disastrous consequences of the economic and political system. Žižek’s theory of symbolic and systematic violence can be translated into the school environment.

The reasons for these subtle forms of violent behavior cannot be discovered without a psychoanalytic approach, aimed at revealing the deepest roots that are located in the conscious and subconscious levels of the students. The first and foremost obstacle in identifying the reasons for violent behavior on individual basis is the fact that violence is an objective characteristic of the society. This behavior, as part of all cultures, refers to threat or use of force with the purpose to prevent certain events, or to cause harm for mere pleasure. The government’s institutions use violence to punish or prevent criminal behavior. Since war and violence have been celebrated throughout the centuries, the reasons for violent behavior in schools should be extended beyond the family, social, and classroom environment the children are subjected to.

The studies conducted by psychologists are very complex, but young people can give us a more specific vision of the origins of these problems, as well as possible ways to solve them in future. Most educators and schools adopt the attitude of “zero tolerance” but don’t bother to look at the big picture and discover the true reasons for violent behavior. In most cases, children’s aggression results from the occurrences in their homes, but the number of students from functional families who also show signs of violence is not to be neglected.

Along the struggle for success, people are always faced with confrontations that determine their commitment and will to achieve the goals. In the jungle of society, only the strong ones succeed. Although people have their individual features, they are not different from the order they come from. Just as the state subjugates its citizens by laws, the citizens find their own subjects to rule. The only way to incorporate positive values in young students’ moral concepts is to create an environment that is not associated with any discrimination and preference. Only coordinated cooperation between schools, educators, parents and children will result with control over the violent behavior among students.

The rules imposed by teachers should be instructive, positively set, and brief. Instead of forbidding certain ways of behavior, the rules should be aimed at guiding students how to react in certain situations. Constructive behavior should always be supported through eye contact and friendly attitude. When disciplinary measures are applied, they should be instructive instead of punitive. Teachers should make sure that those measures are focused on the improper behavior of the student, not the student himself. The consequences of verbal and physical aggression between students can be balanced out with team activities that are not limited to the classroom.

School violence is not a problem that should be solely treated on individual bases with the application of discipline measures. It is a social and historical issue whose effects shape children’s development from early age. It is easy to say that we all want to live in a world without violence, but no philosopher, psychologist or politician has offered reasonable and applicable solutions against the problem on “micro” level. Although society has always been tied to different forms of violent behavior, it is not unreasonable for educators to make attempts towards a classroom without aggression and bullying.