What Is School For? | Teen Ink

What Is School For?

September 15, 2022
By hanshopee GOLD, San Diego, California
hanshopee GOLD, San Diego, California
13 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The question of “What Is School For” is one with a complex history and Americans have still not agreed upon one answer to this question. While a popular opinion is that schools are supposed to prepare students to become functioning members of society as a whole, the content and principles that are drilled into students is a topic of controversy. I believe school is for exposing children and young adults to a wide variety of subjects, ideas, viewpoints, and experiences. This exposure to different schools of thought should lead to citizens being educated, aware, and knowledgeable about themselves.

The different levels of education, from elementary to middle to high school, all serve out the goals of what a school should help a student with, but they do it to varying degrees. As a young child, school is a prime setting for social and emotional learning. This could be a child’s first time spending an extended amount of time with those other than their family, which doubles as an opportunity to see the similarities and differences between themself and others. Different schools can encourage this exposure in different ways. Natureschooling, which is a nature-centered homeschool education, can emphasize the variety of ways we interact with the Earth and how we interact with others. Public schools and private schools alike expose students who don’t look like them or think like them. As students progress and move to middle school, the social aspect is still very much present, but the academic aspect gains a heightened importance. Students continue to learn about themselves and others, and this social awareness is key to being a functioning member of society. As students experience high school, and possibly higher education, the process of learning never stops, both academically and socially. With age comes new relationships, changing interactions, and a need for adaptability. School is the best vehicle to provide this knowledge and self-awareness. Without the exposure to those unlike ourselves, the United States cannot thrive. As a country that is supposedly built on the value of equality, the ability to have complex thought is necessary to make progress.

Without school, Americans would not be able to communicate and learn from others. Without being exposed to views unlike your own in a humanizing way would breed adults with closed minds and stubborn hearts. Progress cannot be made without the introduction of new ideas, and if no one will hear the ideas in the first place, it is impossible for societal change to occur. While school is traditionally thought of as a place for academic learning through memorization and tests, the real value of school in the United States is the social learning that occurs. Learning how to interact with others with the guidance of teachers who act as mentors and help students fix their mistakes is an invaluable experience. An education filled with new experiences is essential to the development of active and engaged citizens.


The author's comments:

The author, Hope Hansen, is a student from southern California. This was written partly to articulate their feelings on school, and partly to form opinions through the process of writing.


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