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The lack of social cohesion education essay

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Thinking about it, I was given a really good education however the way they discipline us made me despise it a lot. The education there was presented in a stricter manner; teachers had high expectations from the students. If we failed to meet their expectations, our punishment would be getting whacked with a bamboo stick. One of the horrible encounters I experienced at school was when I got asked to spell the word ‘’Wednesday’’, at the time, I did not know how to spell it and got whacked really hard, till this day I have the mark on my arm. Thus, I began to fear going to school and hated it over all. Similarly, corporal punishment was allowed in England but it was overruled by parliament in 1987, because it was believed to lead to psychological, physical and emotional damages to those who received it (Aucoin et al, 2006). Presently, there are mixed opinions on whether or not corporal punishment should be reinstated because a lot of parents of secondary school students say that children today are ‘ out of control’ and they need punishment (Loveys, 16th September 2011; Grossman, 2003). Those in disagreement with corporal punishment believe that this sort of punishment ought not to be used as a way to motivate students and it is strictly unethical (Ramsburg, 1997 cited in Charlesworth, 2011). One does not have to resort to this form of punishment in order to teach, even those who have extreme behavioural problems can be taught without such harshness. Research carried out suggests that teachers who used corporal punishment were less open minded and less thoughtful (Aucoin et al, 2006). I can relate to this somehow because for someone to beat a child so hard and leave a scar on them that is still visible fourteen years later cannot have been ‘ thoughtful’; it actually seemed like the teacher did not care at all. On the other hand, those who are in agreement with corporal punishment believe that if conducted in the right way, it can be proven really effective and produce well rounded individuals who are disciplined and accept consequences for their behaviour and actions. Recent figures show that bad behaviour is on the rise in educational institutions and reintroducing the punishment will help convert this pattern back (Grossman, 2003). Though I did not realise at the time, whacking us was effective in the sense that the students feared getting hit and as a result we all studied harder and put more effort into our work. Eventually it became a habit and we all adjusted to it. Understanding and compassionate teachers as well as being educated with love and passion is what every student’s needs, instead of such harsh discipline (Aucoin et al, 2006). High school has one of the biggest influences in a person’s life; I know that without going to the high school I went to, I would not be the person I am today. I went to a private all-girls Muslim high school called Crescent Community High School. Private schools tend to provide more subjects than the required compulsory subjects by the national curriculum; in addition, they have an excellent reputation for maintaining standards of etiquettes, discipline, respect and manners (Levine, 1996 cited in Berns 2004). With it being a Muslim school, I was able to focus and practice my religion; the curriculum included extra subjects like Qur’an lessons, Islamic studies and Arabic. My class was like one big happy family because due to its small class size, we were all close to one another despite the little disputes we used to have. According to Walford (2003) this is one significant benefit to private schooling, as well as the smaller teacher to student ratio as this enables the teacher to spend more time with every student. In comparison, a student in a bigger classroom setting may get lose and have no individual attention paid to them. A significant disadvantage to private schooling is the lack of social cohesion (Cush, 2003), due to the fact that it is an all-girls school Muslim school, there was no mixing with other people from different religions or males. There was no diversity therefore it lead to a massive culture shock once leaving high school. Though some people believe that private schooling is certain to be beneficial to all students; it actually relies on the cautious evaluation of the individual (Cush, 2003). Private schools may affect an individual’s confidence, sometimes negatively and other times positively, all depending on the individual and their experiences (Walford, 2003). At the beginning of high school I was labelled as a bad girl, and at times I loved up that label. I got into plenty of trouble and suspended twice. The labelling theory suggests that if a label is attached to an individual regardless of what label might be, then the individual is more likely to believe in the label and it may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy (Merton, 1948 cite in Heatherton, 2000). The teachers kept telling me I was a clever person and I had a lot of potential if only I set my mind to it; overtime they supported me by offering me a one on one counselling session with the school counsellor. There I learned that I needed to sort a lot of my issues out, teachers gave me a lot of support in order for me to succeed in my academic life according to Carl Rogers (1979, cited in Prout and Brown, 2012), counselling helps people with emotional and psychological problems; it gives people a chance to talk to someone about their problems where they will not be judged and they are given advice on how to deal with their dilemmas. After seeing a lot of change in me, I was encouraged to sign up for a head girl role, which I did and got the position. My leadership role has helped the bloom into the woman I am today. I have become very mature and I am able to perform many tasks and take on big responsibilities. I taught me problem solving skills, dealing with conflicts in the best manner possible and to work both independently and as a team. As a leader, I was a role model for many students, they looked up to me and I was passionate about setting a positive example for people; having this role was rewarding as it helped me better myself and contribute to society. Though I was able to juggle the responsibility and my school work, it was at times stressful and overwhelming, especially during GCSE times. Just like any other job, the work was hard and stressful; students came to me asking to do things, but I had to prioritise and realise that I could not please everyone. Education does not only take place in educational institutions, many lessons are actually learned outside of school (Illich, 1973 cited in McNeil et al, 2003). I came to England when I was 7 years old and the first time I went back to Kenya for holiday I was 15 years old. This experience changed my life and my views; it opened my eyes and reminded me that people struggle all over the world, their struggles are worse than the things that have ever happened to me. It saddened me to see how little poor people and orphans have and helped me appreciate everything I have. Ever since that holiday, every year when I go to Kenya on holiday, I always take up volunteering roles. The first volunteering role I did was in a school where I got to teach English to year one students. I noticed how different it was from volunteering in England, whereby you would just help the teacher in the classroom; but in Kenya I got to experience how it was really like teaching an actual class for the first time. Another task I was able to do was being able to supervise a field trip that the year one students went on; we went to a museum called Fort Jesus for a history lesson. The Social Learning theory illustrated by Albert Bandura (1961, cited in Heatherton, 2000) states that children learn best through observation. Children at a young age learn better when seeing something presented to them (Tizard and Hughes, 2002); after the museum we learned how to make beaded bracelets; both the students and I learned a lot and we had fun too. When I volunteered in a hospital I had to take care and make sure not to offend anyone; one thing I learned is that you may not be able to help every person financially but something as priceless as a smile goes a long way. Wuthnow (1991, cited in Musick and Wilson, 2008) suggests that people generally have a feeling of gratitude when helping others, people volunteer in order to ‘ do the right thing’ or ‘ make the world a better place’ and this is exactly how I felt as it was intrinsically rewarding. One downside to the volunteering is the fact that it is very time consuming; it was a holiday and I had to spend quality time with my family but at times I used to miss the family gatherings because of the work I had to do. In addition; it can be physically tiring because a lot of work requires moving around and the weather is incredibly hot. Furthermore, it can also be emotionally tiring (House et al 1997, cited in Musick and Wilson, 2008) because some of the stories really saddened me but I had to remain strong for the other person’s sake and give words of encouragement even though it was hard. However, that rewarding and satisfying feeling was worth it. it has allowed me to build my communication skills as well as being compassionate and empathetic towards people’s needs. Furthermore, it has helped prepare me for the world of work by equipping me with the essential skills needed. Overall, throughout my life I have learned a lot, being in different atmospheres, going to different schools and different surroundings, it all made me who I am today and helped shaped my views. We learn something new every day. Life is about growing, we make mistakes, we learn and we grow. Every day is a new learning experience. After hopefully completing my degree I want to help those who are less fortunate because in order for an individual to prosper in life, it is essential for education to be present. There are many people who don’t have easy access to education. They only wish to have attended school, yet many of us who do have access to education take it for granted. It is important for us all to wake up and realise the blessings bestowed upon us, to be able to attend educational facilities to gain knowledge is what people fight for in other countries. I hope through my journey here at university, I will be able to travel to less fortunate countries and teach children from all walks of life.

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