What is Most Important to a Classroom?
I have spent almost the entirety of my life in some sort of school or university, trying to learn and grasp knowledge and skills that will better suit me to live a better life. I have experienced very private and intimate classrooms ranging from hi-tech supplies to the bare necessities, and gargantuan entirely impersonal lecture halls with the same supply differential, and this raises the question... How have I learned the best?To better understand my point of view, I need to explain my previous educations. I was raised and received all my education, pre-school through high school, in the public school system in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. I was fortunate to be taught in one of the nicer and higher funded school districts in the metroplex, Grapevine Colleyville ISD.
I firmly believe the purpose of pre-school through 2nd grade is to teach children social skills, and less about learning academic subjects. Now, that isn't to say during those grades children should be set free to go out to recess all day, but, beyond learning the basics of reading and mathematics, these classrooms should focus on teaching toddlers how to interact with other people. All education beyond 2nd grade should be focused on various academics and arts.
With that out of the way, we get to the main question. What classroom situation is best for learning? I have had private one-on-one tutors and lecture halls where I sit with 400 of my closest friends and listen to a teacher lecture about the impact of The Monroe Doctrine. Which one did I learn better from? Obviously, the one-on-one session with the tutor, regardless of the material or the supplies. I felt a personal relationship with the tutor and had a desire to earn their approval and was proud of their praise and embarrassed when I failed them. I think a personal relationship is imperative for a student to learn from a teacher. In a perfect world we would have a personal teacher for every student, but we don't live in a perfect world. We have to work with what we have, and what we have is an imperfect education system.
The most important part of any classroom is the teacher. Not the supplies, not the environment and not even the subject - it all boils down to the teacher. It is up to the teacher to make the most boring and mundane topics easier to learn. It is easier for a teacher to teach students about the dinosaurs and the battle of Gettysburg; it's when teachers must lecture about basic calculus and the symbolism of the river in "Huckleberry Finn" that students lose interest. It's the responsibility of the teacher to make the less naturally appealing subjects as equally interesting as the exciting subjects, and that can be done better in smaller environments, and the tools provided have very little impact.
We cannot continue to allow our education system to take a back seat to other government funded ventures. Who will solve the issues of today? The kids in class now. To better prepare them to tackle those obstacles we need to better educate them and that can only be done through better teachers. Not laptops, not hd televisions in the classroom, and certainly not e-readers, but the teachers.
We must make becoming a teacher more appealing, financially, and, by doing so, we can hold them to a higher standard and expect better from them.