Duty of Educators in an Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :



Teaching the fundamentals does not necessarily mean stripping the fun out of learning, however. In fact, the best educators know how to balance the wishes of students with core concepts. For example, teaching Homers Odyssey could include both a close reading of the primary text, an analysis of the text using literary criticism, plus an analysis of modern manifestations of the work, such as the Coen brothers' film O Brother Where Art Thou. Developing a broad-based curriculum can extend fundamental knowledge about literature, making that knowledge applicable to a wide range of literary works. When educators are able to incorporate popular culture into a traditional curriculum, their work becomes creative and powerful. Students who can apply themes and philosophies to works beyond that which they encounter in the classroom have really learned something. However, by simply mimicking popular culture, the educator deprives students of the ability to think critically. A student cannot engage in any meaningful discourse regarding classical Greek poetry without having first read Homer, and therefore it is the duty of the educator to instruct students in a traditional manner. The same is true for any subject matter. For example, engineering students cannot pass by calculus before building a bridge; students of American history have to read the Federalist Papers before they can make an educated comment on the quality of the current presidential administration. By first giving students a teacher-directed curriculum, educators provide the essential foundation for critical and creative thinking. Then, the educator can begin weaving elements of popular culture into a classical curriculum, not only to please students but to make their learning relevant and meaningful.

Once armed with the fundamentals of any given discipline, the student can then embark on the independent study projects he or she craves. For example, aware of the roots of gender relations in Chinese history, a student can begin to examine the manifestations of gender roles in modern Chinese culture. Academia evolves in this manner: instructors impart a set of core concepts and then challenge students to apply those core concepts in new ways. Educators must carry out their duties as carriers of essential knowledge, or else the entire foundation of academia would become unstable. Music students who shunned theory because it seemed boring would be unable to read sheet music. Students of international relations would echo what they read on the Internet without a prior knowledge of the historical precedents for current political upheavals. Whenever educators chose only to pander to trends then each successive generation of students would lose some aspect of past wisdom. As soon as educators begin eliminating classical texts or primary sources from their curricula to suit students' tastes, the system of knowledge becomes compromised because all ideas stem from those that have gone before.

Education is time-consuming and expensive, so a student is getting ripped off if he or she graduates from college without receiving a structured education. if, after four or more years of college, all a student can show is an ability to critique a prime time television cartoon, the purpose of education has been lost. The duty of the educator is to craft curricula. Young people soak up enough popular culture from films and television; even when the student body demands a more hip curriculum, professional educators should be sure to sneak in the classics. An ideal education is one that is firmly rooted in traditional texts and theories but that which stimulates students to creatively apply what they have learned to the modern world.

Works Cited

Coen, J. And Coen, E. (2000). O Brother Where Art Thou? (feature film)

Homer. Odyssey.

Parker, T. And Stone, M. (1997) South Park…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Coen, J. And Coen, E. (2000). O Brother Where Art Thou? (feature film)

Homer. Odyssey.

Parker, T. And Stone, M. (1997) South Park (television series)

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