Meg Strauss Inquiry Project.docx

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Strauss 1 Meg Strauss May 5th, 2016 Inquiry Project Strauss 2 Introduction In order to compare different views in regards to school and education, I interviewed two vastly dissimilar people. I first observed and interviewed Nicole Orswell, a 50-year-old Caucasian woman who teaches as Wellington Middle School. Orswell is a United
  Strauss 1 Meg Strauss May 5 th , 2016 Inquiry Project  Strauss 2 Introduction In order to compare different views in regards to school and education, I interviewed two vastly dissimilar people. I first observed and interviewed Nicole Orswell, a 50-year-old Caucasian woman who teaches as Wellington Middle School. Orswell is a United States-born college graduate who has essentially spent her entire life within the schooling system. Right after high school graduation, Orswell went to college to pursue her education degree. As soon as she finished college, she went straight into teaching. Carlos Martinez Sr., the second person in which I interviewed, spent only a fraction of his life within the United States’ educational system. Martinez is a bilingual 46-year-old manager at Seaboard Farms, a pig farm located in rural Holyoke, Colorado. When Martinez was six-years-old, he and his family immigrated from Juarez, Mexico to Holyoke. Martinez started first grade at Holyoke Elementary School and dropped out of Holyoke High School the middle of his tenth grade year. Martinez has stayed in Holyoke ever since and has worked his way up into a management position at Seaboard Farms, an aspect of his life that clearly makes him very proud. Over the course of my in terviews, I came to the quick conclusion that one’s opinion on the success and purpose of the United States’ schooling system is completely dependent on a  person’s personal experience within schools, their ethnic diversity, and the amount of time they have spent in educational institutions. For instance, Orswell has a much more optimistic outlook on schooling than Martinez; for Orswell has always felt that through proper schooling, the world can be changed one student at a time. Martinez, on the other hand, feels as though the schooling system is a positive institution for only those who are white, English-speaking individuals. For the students that do not fit this image, Martinez feels these students are somewhat better off not attending school in the first place.  Strauss 3 The Purpose of Schooling When I asked both of my interviewees what they feel is the purpose of schooling, they  both first gave me the answer as to what they think society feels the purpose of school should be. Orswell thinks that society feels as though the main purpose of schooling is to give knowledge to students in order to create contributing members of society. Martinez seems to agree with Orswell, stating , “Society wants schools to basically raise their kids. To me, schools seem more focused on the social part of it and are less focused on what or how the kids are learning.” However, when both interviewees answered what they feel the purpose of schooling should be, their answers differed immensely. Orswell, clearly illustrating her self-proclaimed optimistic character, stated , “I think the  purpose of schools should be to just make good people, to help them be the best that they could  be. I don’t think it really matters if they end up contributing to society in some  big way, just as long as they are taught the importance of making the world a better place.” Orswell, being a middle school teacher, feels it is her role as an educator to create a safe space in her classroom in which students feel loved and respected. She feels it is her own purpose as a teacher to make her students know that she views them as real human beings who are capable of providing an extreme amount of goodness to the world. Martinez, who often mentions how he feels he did not learn a lot in school, feels that the  purpose of schooling and the role of the teacher is to “teach students all about the world.” Martinez is fully supportive of mandating students to take a wide variety of classes. Martinez states, “If students go to college, I think it i s really important that they really know what they want to do with their entire life. Like if a kid has only taken history classes his whole life, they would never get the chance to realize that they really like math.” In other words, Martinez feels  Strauss 4 that the purpose of education should be, in fact, to strictly educate students about the world around them. As I was referring back to these two answers, I was struck by the correlation of the answers to the two articles titled “Education and the Human Heart”  by the Dalai Lama and “Education for Wisdom” by John Miller. Orswell seems to side with the Dalai Lama’s view on the purpose of education, while Martinez seems to side with Miller. For instance, the Dalai Lama states that, “Western educational system, alth ough it is very impressive to see the high standards of facilities, the many material resources, and the perfection of so many different aspects of educational development, the thing that seems to be lacking is the dimension of enhancing and developing the heart ”  (Lama, 1999). This quote parallels directly with Orswell ’s belief   on the  purpose of schooling, as she feels the schooling system should focus less on educating students in the hopes of creating proper citizens, but should instead focus on bettering the hearts of children. On the other hand, both Martinez and Miller feel as though wisdom is the key to a successful educational system. In his article, Miller states, “It is time that schools and universities focus on the development of wisdom if humanity is to survive ”  (Miller, 2005).   Miller continues to define wisdom as consisting of insight, humility, and love towards all the aspects of the world (2005) . This is similar to Martinez’s view that the schooling system should focus on providing students with the knowledge of the world, as well as their own place within the world, which in return creates wisdom. Overall, what I have learned from this question is that there is an extremely large range as to what one can believe is the purpose of schooling. One, like Orswell and the Dalai Lama, can have the view that schools should focus on the heart of the student. Others, like Martinez and
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