Reflecting On American Education

As I reflect on my personal growth throughout this course, I begin by looking at my previous understanding when I first began this online class. I decided to pursue a teaching career after receiving my BA in Communications Cinema/Digital from Vanguard University in southern California. My undergrad contributed a great deal of knowledge to the visual arts skills that I use in my video production and graphic design classes. However, this gave me no knowledge of the world of education. Through this process I have learned concepts and educational facts that were new to me but probably not to most teachers who have been in this field for a while. With all that said, it was very useful to learn about the history of education because it gave me a better understanding of how and why our educational system in America functions today.

In my first reflection, I talked about the difficulties that existed in pre-colonial America when efforts were first being made to create an educational system for children. I was encouraged to see the lengths that people went to for the opportunity to have access to education. This made me consider the people and resources in schools today that we take for granted. Urban and Wagoner (2009) state, “If some elements of education continued to tie new generations to those of the past, other lessons were being pressed to the fore as new challenges forced both old and new inhabitants to adjust to the demands of two worlds undergoing the process of cultural transfer and transformation” (p. 11). The inception of education in America came about from the clashing of worlds, cultures and societies. Through this process, many sacrifices had to be made, some good and some bad.

As we continued to learn about the history of education, I saw the following pattern: It was the people who had the power that were able to make decisions that dramatically affected education today. These leaders developed different viewpoints and discussed their differences, weighing the pros and cons of their approaches to teaching. In the end, I saw a great deal of effort put forward to create a system that supported student learning and personal growth, giving children the foundation to one day become a part of greater American society.