The utopian model proposed in this essay is an attempt to incorporate utopian ideals into the modern, flawed, classroom setting. It includes ideas for dealing with the real issue of child abuse in the schools, and the problem of inequality in education. Further, it explores the important issue of ongoing teacher education, and promotes the incorporation of computers in the classroom. Finally, an open and warm classroom atmosphere is encouraged through the use of open communication between teachers, students, and administrators.
One of the most important concepts in designing a utopian education system is to set clear boundaries for the environment in which it occurs. Will the system occur in the future, and attempt to outline a completely innovative scheme, or will it occur in the past, with a "revisionist" attempt to make prior education systems more workable? It is tempting to create either of these models, as they allow considerable freedom of intellectual expression. These fantastical models help to create an environment where a wide variety of issues such as subject matter, teacher/student interactions, administration, and technology can be examined in an entirely new context.
However, I have chosen to keep the scope of this utopian education system model within the confines of the context of a modern, American classroom. I do this for two important reasons. The first is practical, as thinking about a utopian system in a modern context may result in innovations or ideas that can actually be used in a practical classroom setting. The second reason is more theoretical, as creating a utopian system in a modern context allows for the exercise of the imagination against the constraints of many harsh, modern-day realities. As such, any lessons obtained from a utopian system based on a realistic model will hopefully have the advantages of both insight and practicality.
This said, there are several important considerations to be weighted when developing a theoretical utopian education system. In a realistic construct, difficult modern issues must be considered. These include potentially divisive and troubling issues like child abuse that is perpetrated by either the community or educators. Further, the ideals of equality in education are crucially important in a utopian model. The role and responsibilities of students, administers and teachers must all be considered. Further, the types and applications of technologies are truly important classroom matters. In addition, the classroom atmosphere is an important consideration. Finally, the practical application of teacher education and training must be considered.
Taken together, reviewing all of these considerations in detail is a weighty and difficult task. As such, this essay will simply provide an overview of a wide number of potential considerations in a utopian system.
In a truly utopian society, child abuse would never occur. However, because I have based this model on the realities of modern-day America, the reality of child abuse is a difficult issue that must be addressed. Child abuse does occur, and can be perpetrated both by teachers and members of the community.
In recent years, a great deal of work has been done to make the current educational system approach a more utopian ideal in the area of child abuse. Specifically, educators are now required to report the suspicion of child abuse to authorities, or face criminal liability if they fail to do so. While this is clearly a step towards the utopian ideal of eradicating child abuse much more must be done.
Clearly, teachers face a difficult road when reporting suspected child abuse. They often feel conflicting emotions like anxiety, stress, guilt, and the fear of making a false accusation. As such, it is crucially important that teachers be knowledgeable about associated emotions, and the specifics of both child abuse and the reporting procedures and practices in their schools (Nunnelley & Fields).
As such, a utopian model must integrate thorough and effective training for teachers in the field of child abuse. Currently, we are far from this ideal both in America and abroad. In the UK, which has similar legislation to the U.S. (requiring teachers to be disciplined or dismissed if they do not report suspected child abuse, new teachers commonly receive less than two hours of training in child protection before they begin working in the schools (NSPCC).
Further, a utopian model must address the fears of teachers…