Saturday, September 29, 2012

Online Education to Become a Teacher

You might want to consider acquiring an online degree if you are interested in becoming a teacher. The field of education is one that gives you plenty of opportunities to try out different roles. As a teacher, you can focus on early, middle, or secondary aged students. You can also take on administrative roles with an online degree focused on teaching.
Kinds of Online Degrees:
Similar to any other field, there are lots of options available for you when it comes to online degrees. To start with, you can go for a bachelor's degree in education. You can become a teacher in any college or university by earning this degree along with a certificate in teaching. Normally your college major will decide which subject you are going to teach. Once you have earned a bachelor's degree in education, you can further go for a master's degree in education. This degree can come in real handy for individuals who want to advance their career.
Different Areas in the Field of Education:
The education field consists of various specializations that include elementary education, early childhood education, administration, higher education, secondary education and middle school. Each of these specializations needs a specific educational qualification and certification for becoming a teacher. For example, it is mandatory for teachers to get a license from the state in which they are teaching.
Online Bachelor's in Education:
To start a career in teaching, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in Education. The course structure of this online degree program includes planning lessons, handling discipline related issues, psychology of learning and making sure that students do not face any problem in understanding concepts. You can earn between $25,000 and $30,000 as a first year teacher with an online bachelor's degree in education.
Online Master's in Teaching:
Certified teachers can attain promotions as well as pay raises with the help of online a master's in teaching degree. Another good thing about this degree program is that it gives teachers more opportunities in private schools and universities. Upon graduation you can also enroll in a PhD in education degree program.
Schools Offering Online Education Degrees:
o Western Governors University: Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Western Governors University offers Bachelor in Education, Masters in Teaching, Masters in Education, Higher Education, Secondary Education and Special Education.
o Ashford University: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Ashford University offers Associate, Bachelor and Master degrees in teaching. Some of the programs conducted by Ashford University are Bachelor in Education, Masters in Teaching, Masters in Education, Masters in Teaching, Higher Education, Early Childhood Education, Secondary Education and Elementary Education.
o Grand Canyon University: Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, Grand Canyon University offers Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education in Secondary Education and Master of Education in Special Education.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Fine and Performing Arts & Education

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. (Paulo Freire)
I see too many public service commercials-today-exhorting us to support the Performing and Fine Arts in public education. We, as a nation, have evidently become so low-brow, or unsophisticated, that we can no longer see the need for Art education in our schools. So now, we have our children pleading with us, on television commercials, to keep Art education alive. This is a sad state of affairs for us and our children, because art is what truly separates us from the beasts and allows us to rise above the mundane drudgery of life. As many others, I believe art should be at the center of education and not just because it's good for us. Art stimulates a child's cognitive and affective domains, as well as their motor skills, which leads to learning, discovery, creativity and motivation.
Academics are very important, of course, but too often they only stimulate a very small portion of the student's mind and heart. There are three, basic domains of learning: the Cognitive (mind), Affective (emotions or feelings) and Motor-Skills (hands-on). These three domains are key to our thinking/reasoning, learning, problem solving and creating. A healthy mind (Cognitive) is capable of taking in, retaining and processing information, which can then be applied, if retained and used, to the individual's life. Emotions and feelings (Affective) are closely connected to an individual's learning, because they aid in retaining and applying information, as well as stimulating the desire to learn more. Seeing, hearing, speaking, the ability to write, walk and run are all part of the individual's Motor-skills. Without these three domains, learning, needless to say, would be impossible. Reading, writing, math and the sciences stimulate the cognitive and motor skills domains quite effectively, but the affective is too often short changed.
If we think back to our school days, then we should be able to remember that the memorization of facts and successfully spitting them back out on tests was our main concern as students. This is very much a part of the learning process, and I'm not denying that, but where does the Affective domain play a significant part in this teaching process? In much of this way of learning the affective is absent, and-therefore-much of the educational material, which has just been learned, has no real application in the individual's life and is forgotten. I remember very little about higher level math, the periodic table and scientific jargon. Why is that? It didn't relate to my life nor touch me in a deep way. This is not to say that I, or anyone else, shouldn't have taken math and science classes, but what I am saying is academics are less effective than they can be, because they tend to ignore the Affective domain.
I contend that the Arts use all three domains effectively, and they can-therefore-stimulate the student to apply, as well as retain, what they've learned. Creativity is key in this process. The Performing and Fine Arts have a distinct advantage-educationally-in their ability to allow students to create as they learn. In painting, students are in the process of creating at the same time they're mixing colors and learning brush techniques. The same applies to sculpting and photography students. Many middle and high school music directors are-now-using computer programs to stimulate their students to compose as they learn to play and sing. Dance and theatre programs are examples, as well, of applying skills as their students learn. This artistic, educational process employs the cognitive and motor skills domains, but it also stimulates the affective. The art student experiences the sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully learning, and then being able to immediately apply this knowledge in a very personal way. The Arts can enhance a student's ability to express their emotions in a very positive way. These students have ownership of what they have learned and are able to express this ownership through creativity. The Performing or Fine Arts student is motivated-educationally-beyond just memorizing facts and passing tests, because they're using their newly-acquired knowledge to express what lies deep in their heart and mind.
Surprisingly, the arts and sports have much in common, educationally. The basketball or football player, as well as the long-distant runner, learn their skills while applying them. The learning of physical techniques and immediate application reinforces the athlete's desire to learn and perform even more. In team sports, such as football, baseball and basketball, the student athlete learns to work with others to produce a product, or team. The young athlete learns that the whole, or team, is greater than the sum of its parts, or players, as do dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists. As in performing ensembles, these young athletes experience the joy that comes from accomplishing something special with others. They learn, in a very intimate way, responsibility towards others and that the team is dependent on the very weakest athlete, as well as the strongest and most gifted. There's really very little difference between a football player and a band member, when it comes to being responsible and understanding that it takes everyone-involved-to be successful. This is such a valuable and wonderful lesson, and it is learned primarily, through the affective domain.
Educational collaboration between artistic disciplines is a great way for young artists to learn while they create. The pairing of young instrumentalists with dancers and visual artists, or actors with singers, can open up a whole new world of artistic exploration, discovery and creativity. These collaborations can become a great vehicle for learning and motivation, as any arts teacher who has experienced this process will testify. The educational process becomes more important than the outcome, or testing results, because it is in the process of exploration, discovery and creativity where learning really occurs. The educational outcome is secondary, because it is only used, in this case, to measure curricular goals. The motivation for and enjoying of learning comes through the process of collaboration, exploration, discovery and creating.
In academia, the emphasis-today-is placed more on the outcome, or testing and grades, which, in my estimation, is a huge mistake. Academic instructors could learn much from their counterparts in the arts. The government and its politically motivated, educational policies, of course, stands in the way of any successful, corrective change to academic teaching methods. Political agendas, such as, "No child left behind" are meaningless and worthless to students and teachers, because they're not concerned, as they so hypocritically claim, with the success of the individual learner. Instead, these agendas are merely an attempt to soothe the fevered brows of unsatisfied constituents.
I will agree with academic teachers that their process seems to be more set in stone than with the arts, and the only real way they can measure educational outcomes is through testing. There has to be a way-however-to allow a math, science, English or history student to become more involved in the process of learning. English teachers have a distinct advantage, since they could use writing essays and poems to instill a sense of ownership in their students. Their students-then-could use their essays and poems to collaborate with young composers, actors and dancers, as an example. Even though it would be difficult, science, language and math teachers could also seek these same avenues for educational exploration, discovery and creativity, which would-then-hopefully-lead to a student's retention/application, ownership and motivation. This, of course, will be impossible, as long as we allow our government to force academic teachers to teach-solely-towards the outcome, or "standardized" testing.
American students, every year, fall farther behind their counterparts around the world, academically and intellectually, while their parents and teachers continue to buy into the educational propaganda, which is spewed out by the American-political machine in Washington. Every year, Art education becomes less and less important in our schools, because of it's effectiveness in producing students who can think, reason, question, learn and create. Realistically speaking, Art education may be perceived as a threat to those who run this country and desire a race of middle-class, mindless, unquestioning and unsophisticated robots.
Education is the responsibility of the parents first and foremost, and if parents aren't capable or willing to fight for their children's education, then I guess America is doomed. If I were a parent-today-there would be no way I could allow my child to be intellectually molested by our current, public-education system. My child would either be home-schooled, at best, or in a private education system.
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and long lasting nations in the history of the world, and yet, as the Roman government declined, then so did its human values and arts. There is only one piece of music remaining, one mere fragment, after one thousand years of Roman culture. Rome literally disintegrated from within, because of a corrupt government and decaying society. The United States is less than two-hundred and fifty years old, and we're already starting the lingering slide into governmental corruption, cultural ignorance and decay. Perhaps, it's too late to save our society, but if it isn't, then it's time to start rebuilding what we have allowed to be torn down for the last one-hundred and fifty years. If it isn't too late, then we must begin to rebuild our values and education system. Our values and education system may not have been perfect, in the past, but they were worthy of being fixed, properly.
Most successful, world cultures, throughout history, have been measured by the quality of their philosophers and artists far more than their forms of government and technological advances. If we disappear as a nation, in another century or so, what will we be remembered for? What will be our legacy to the world?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Graduate Education

As educational careers and instructional certifications become more specialized, education graduate programs are reflecting this by encouraging students to declare a concentration within their education degree program. A concentration makes educators more attractive, often broadening their career prospects and better preparing them to meet the challenges of being an education professional.
While it's typical for a student to declare a minor in a different field altogether-say, an international trade law major might choose a minor such as Chinese language if he or she intends to work within the Asian marketplace-a concentration is often closely linked with the major, more tailored to a specific job description. Someone looking to establish a career related to electronic teaching methods and new media in education, for instance, might pursue a masters degree in education with a concentration in distance learning, or instructional technology.
Credit hour requirements for concentrations vary greatly; programs typically require anywhere between 12 credit hours and 36 credit hours to complete degree requirements for a concentration within the primary degree program. This varies from one institution to the next, and of course, is dependent on the nature of the concentration itself.
Let's take a look at a few education degree programs and concentrations to see what's out there, and to help you better understand how selecting an education concentration might best serve your goals.
Educational Technology
Instructional or educational technology is a growing field that emphasizes the use of technology in education, both in the classroom and as a platform for distance learning programs. It encourages the design and implementation of a wide variety of tools to facilitate and advance students' potential for learning. With modern curricula being built around the use of digital technology and new media, a master's degree in education with a concentration in educational technology provides teachers with a valuable technological skill set and a solid working knowledge of e-learning methods. Those who understand and embrace these emerging learning methods are in high demand these days, whether it be in education or in private and corporate settings. Check out the International Society for Technology in Education's Educator's Resource page to learn more about this exciting, ever-changing field.
Curriculum and Instruction Strategies
A masters degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction strategies can help teachers improve and strengthen their classroom practices. Exploring such areas as student literacy, inclusion and educational leadership, this concentration helps prepare instructors to better implement practical solutions to problems encountered both inside and out of the classroom. There are plenty of related concentrations in education that are associated with curriculum and classroom methodologies that can also benefit administrators, curriculum developers and department heads, among others. In addition, various teacher certifications are contingent upon completing concentrations like curriculum and instruction strategies.
Inclusion
As a practical theory, inclusion is another name for (or synonymous with) what may have been formerly known as "special education". New educational models emphasize the inclusion of special needs children in the traditional classroom-built around the premise that children who learn together, learn to live together. A concentration in inclusion is designed to provide K-12 classroom teachers and administrators with critical theory and practical knowledge related to special education inclusion-offering educators the opportunity to study and improve upon professional practices, and in some cases, receive special education teacher certification as well.
Language and Literacy
Concentrations emphasizing reading, writing and literacy allow students to focus their attention on the study of how people develop, communicate and process written and spoken languages. This field explores complex relationships between these developmental processes, and how they reflect and relate to institutions, communities and cultures. Naturally, this field appeals to teachers of language and writing, but also has crossover value to those involved in studying new communication methods, particularly as they relate to technological advancement and ever-changing modes of communication. A concentration in language and literacy can prepare students for a broad array of career options, and also puts the graduate student in touch with the most fundamental elements of education: language and communication. The International Reading Association offers an excellent online resource, full of journals, publications and helpful Web tools for literacy and language professionals worldwide.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Understanding and Unleashing the Transformative Powers of Education

As a child, my parents always impressed upon me the importance of getting a good education. My father in particular, always told my siblings and I that we should strive to be number one in our studies. Because of the strict nature of my father, getting good grades was the rule, while getting low grades resulted in punishment. Needless to say, my siblings and I achieved honor role status throughout our K through middle school years. However, as I hit high school things began to change for me. I was no longer that little boy that followed my father's every wish out of fear. By now, I had been hardened by the tough streets of Brooklyn and questioned whether getting a good (formal) education could take me out of this environment.
You see, in my community, I knew of few high school graduates, much less college graduates. My parents had limited education and struggled to provide for my siblings and I. Like many that grew up in poor communities, I experienced my fair share of pain and struggles. Like many of today's youth that are dropping out of high school in record numbers, I too doubted the transformative powers of formal education touted by my parents and teachers. I did not believe that formal education alone could transform my socio-economic situation. As a result, I began to devalue formal education and withdrew (cutting classes regularly). Luckily, I began to realize the error in my thinking brought about by the intervention of a high school guidance counselor. I struggled to graduate high school, needing to attend summer school two years in a row in addition to night school. Nevertheless, I did graduate-But what next!?
Today, we hear news reports about the high dropout rates for inner city high school kids across America. I believe that this high dropout rate stems from the inability of the youth to understand and witness the transformative power of education within their communities. As a 34 year old man with a PhD, I can now attest to the transformative powers of getting a good education, but not just one that is formal. I have seen examples of education's transformative powers in the lives of my colleagues, as well as in my own life. However, most people wont get a PhD, or even a college degree. Does this mean that they are doomed to a life of suffering and pain because of their socio-economic situation? Well not necessarily, as a significant percentage of millionaires in America did not graduate from college.
Still, statistics do show that one's level of formal education directly correlates to one's income (the higher the degree, the higher the income) and employability (the higher the degree, the higher the level of employability). So, it is safe to say that formal education does have transformative power in regards to one's socio-economic situation. But, is simply graduating from high school and getting a college degree the answer to unlocking education's transformative powers?
Let us take a look at the essence of education. Education is all about learning basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, and then building on these skills with more complex fields of study such as science, history, and economics. What you are doing as you master and broaden your intellectual skills is teaching your brain how to learn.
What ways do I learn best?
What topics interest me most?
What topics do I find easiest to learn?
What topics will help me transform my life?
What topics will help me realize my life's vision?
These are questions that you should be asking yourself as you learn how to learn (education). The truth is that formal education is beneficial to a point, but after that point it is not necessary for everyone. The reason for this is that once you learn the basics as previously described, you can take the initiative to go to libraries, museums, art galleries, plays, as well as surf the Internet to learn about anything you deem useful. Many successful people such as former President Abraham Lincoln were self-taught. But do keep in mind that because many of us do not have the discipline or desire to learn just for the sake of learning, K-12, trade schools, colleges, and universities put together formal curriculums designed to legitimize our educational experiences with a diploma, certificate of completion, or degree. The degree in particular, became popular with American employers in the 1960s, as America moved out of the Industrial Age to the Information Age. Prior to this shift, one could graduate high school and get a good middle class job at the same factory your father worked in. However, as industrial jobs disappear by the thousands because of outsourcing and globalization, a college degree has become essential for anyone looking to ascend in today's new work world (the corporate world).
But, is the opportunity to transform one's socio-economic situation utilizing formal education truly available to all? While formal education (K-12) is now available to all in America, getting a good formal education still comes at a premium. For example, inner city (K-12) public schools have historically underperformed when compared to their suburban public or private school counterparts. Therefore, socio-economics seems to be a factor in who has access to quality formal education. Another example of this is in the higher education arena, where the cost of attending a four-year institution is outpacing inflation, making attending college a dream for some and a burden for others finding it difficult to repay huge student loans after they graduate. What is someone who wants to transform his/her life utilizing formal education to do?
Well first, one has to assess his/her future goals.
What are you interested in doing with your life?
Reach out to guidance counselors, teachers/faculty in your schools. Maybe they can find outside educational programs that you can participate in that will increase your learning if your school is not providing you with enough rigor.
Seek out educational programs within as well as outside of your community.
Ask yourself questions such as-Do I need to go to an expensive college and be burdened with huge student loans when I graduate in order to achieve my goals?
Or could I attend a less expensive school and learn how to learn what I need to know to get where I want to go?
Parents, participate in your child's education. Get involved with the faculty and other parents.
Keep abreast of political matters and then vote in the best interest of your child. And of greatest importance, seek out and provide examples of the transformative powers of education for your child. Be sure that they understand that the essence of education is not about getting a prestigious diploma or degree and saying "now pay me" to some employer.
The essence of education is about learning how to learn so that you can learn what you deem necessary for transforming your life.
Dropping out of high school does not help your cause.
Going to a prestigious school just to be burdened with huge student loan debt that you will have difficulty repaying does not help your cause.
Obtaining a particular degree that is not in alignment with your life's vision, simply because it is easier to acquire then the degree you really need does not help your cause.
There is no doubt that education (learning how to learn) has transformative power, but in order to unleash that transformative power one has to understand the essence of education and then use it strategically.
Dr. Barrett has an earned PhD in applied management and decision sciences, with a specialization in leadership and organizational change. He also holds a MS in organizational leadership and a BS in organizational management. In addition to these degrees, Dr. Barrett has completed several executive certificates focusing on various areas of management and leadership development.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Education in Theory and Perspective

What is the meaning of education?
Webster defines education as the process of educating or teaching. Educate is further defined as "to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of..." Thus, from these definitions, we might assume that the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of students.
It is also defined in Oxford that education is the knowledge, abilities, and the development of character and mental powers that are resulted from intellectual, moral, and physical trainings. So, it can be said that someone who already got education will have additional knowledge, abilities and change in character and mental power.
While in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, it is stated that:
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization). Education means 'to draw out', facilitating realization of self-potential and latent talents of an individual. It is an application of pedagogy, a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, neuro-science, sociology and anthropology.
From the quotation above, it is assumed that education does not merely transfer knowledge or skill, but more specifically it trains people to have positive judgment and well-developed wisdom, better characters and mental powers. Through education, someone will be able to search through their natural talent and self-potential, empower them and finally will result in gaining their self-esteem and better life.
The history of education according to Dieter Lenzen, president of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin 1994 "began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770". Education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. Education was the natural response of early civilizations to the struggle of surviving and thriving as a culture. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on.
The education of an individual human begins since he was born and continues throughout his life. Even, some people believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents' playing music or reading to the baby in the womb to hope it will influence the child's development. For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily life provide far more instruction than does formal. Family members may have a profound educational effect - often more profound than they realize - though family teaching may function very informally.
Education: the purpose, function and in practice
Theorists have made a distinction between the purpose of education and the functions of education. A purpose is the fundamental goal of the process-an end to be achieved, while Functions are other outcomes that may occur as a natural result of the process- byproducts or consequences of schooling. To elaborate these terms, it can be seen in reality that some teachers believe that the transfer of knowledge from teacher to students is the main purpose of education, while the transfer of knowledge from school to the real world or the application of what has been transferred is something that happens naturally as a consequence of possessing that knowledge; it is called a function of education.
Here are some quotations taking from The Meaning of Education:
"The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort" ~Ayn Rand
"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think-rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men." ~Bill Beattie
From the above information it can be said that the purpose of education is to prepare the students to be able to face their life by facilitating them to develop their mind and equip them with "hard skill" and "soft skill" to deal with reality. As the result of this education, they themselves will be able to think, to understand, to integrate and to prove their ability.
Talking about the purpose of education, there are some overviews about it. There are different outlooks between autocratic and democratic regarding education. It is quite clear that each type of world outlook demands its consistent type of education. The autocratic wants the education in the purpose of making docile followers. So, that is why they prefer a type of education whose purpose is to build docility and obedience. In the other hand, Democracy is different from them. Democracy wishes all people to be able and willing to judge wisely for themselves. The democratic will seek a type of education whose purpose is to build responsible, thinking, public-spirited citizenship in all people.
This is also different for the authoritarian society. For them, it is just enough for the leaders to know what they want without thinking about what their people want. It is quite in contrary to what a democratic society wants. For the democracy society, the leaders and the most important - the large majority of the people must see clearly the aims/purpose of the type of education they have. In other words, in a democracy it is essential that the leaders and people have clear philosophy of life and a clear philosophy of education.