Education has long been a matter of heated debate. The world’s greatest minds are continuously revolutionizing the methods to improve educational strategies, address numerous issues and challenges, and solve controversies. However, every time a seemingly flawless solution is found, a new issue arises, causing more problems and debate. Today, a number of challenges in education are related to globalization and technical progress. Globalization has dramatically accelerated the movement of goods, ideas and people across the borders and significantly affected education on its multiple levels. High immigration levels are causing a constant growth of minority groups in the United States. A major papering issue in contemporary education is the use of the English language in the classroom. Though about 95% of students are the native or fluent speakers of English, approximately 9.7 million children in the United States primarily speak another language at home (United States Census Bureau, 2015). About 1.3 million of those children lack proficiency in English, or do not know it at all. Today only about 43% of American schools have programs for students whose native language is not English and around 27% of schools are unable to offer any related programs due to the lack of funding (Institute of Education Sciences, 2015).
Another important problem faced by the contemporary education is violence in schools. It begins with one student bullying, pushing or shoving another one, and results in fights, injuries and even deaths. According to Gruber & Fineran, children who use illicit drugs and those from families experiencing financial issues show higher rates of violent behavior in schools. The results of a recently conducted study discovered that about 7.8 % of questioned high school students were injured or threatened on school property (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).
The benefits offered by online education is a controversial matter in contemporary education. The advocates of online learning claim that flexibility offered by online learning provides students an opportunity to perform better than in face-to-face instruction (Jaggars & Bailey). However, the opponents of online education are concerned with the quality of online courses, when compared to conventional lessons. Numerous recent studies provide evidence of both advantages and disadvantaged of online learning, creating even more controversy around the topic (Feenberg, 2015).
Another topic that is the matter of heated debate among professional pedagogues is the use of learning styles in education. The very idea of learning styles refers to the most efficient ways of learning for a particular student. It implies that every individual has an inclination towards a specific kind of learning and that by identifying this preferred teaching strategy, learning can become more effective. However, the opponents of learning styles theory claim that these represent a danger of labeling students as particular learners (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer & Bjork, 2009).
The issue of English language in the classroom has been selected for this paper, because I believe that the immigration rates will continue to grow in the United States, taking this issue on a new level. That is why professionals should concentrate on creating and implementing language and assimilation programs accessible to all minority populations.
The problem of violence in schools requires immediate attention and efforts directed at finding an efficient solution, as the health and lives of children are at risk. Positive opportunities should be creates for students willing to participate to activities aimed at developing critical-thinking and conflict-resolution skills in order to protect them from antisocial behavior and violence.
The controversies related to online education and learning styles deserve attention of professionals, because there is not enough conclusive research analyzing every angle included in learning styles use, especially outside the traditional student-teacher paradigm; as well as there are no reliable studies comparing online and traditional education in terms of the teaching mechanisms they use. Thus, more professional research is needed to solve these controversies.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance вЂ” United States, 2011. Cdc.gov. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6104a1.htm
- Feenberg, A. (2015). The Online Education Controversy and the Future of the University. Foundations Of Science. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10699-015-9444-9
- Gruber, J., & Fineran, S. (2007). The Impact of Bullying and Sexual Harassment on Middle and High School Girls. Violence Against Women, 13(6), 627-643. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077801207301557
- Institute of Education Sciences,. (2015). English language learners. Fast Facts. Nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=96
- Jaggars, S., & Bailey, T. (2010). Effectiveness of Fully Online Courses for College Students: Response to a Department of Education Meta-Analysis. Community College Research Center.
- Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2009). Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence. Psychological Science In The Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01038.x
- United States Census Bureau,. (2015). Census Bureau Reports at Least 350 Languages Spoken in U.S. Homes. Census.gov. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-185.html