Education is an important part of any society. It contributes to the development of culture and its achievements. There are different views on educational methods and strategies. However, one of the most popular concepts promotes approachable style. The main goals of this paper are to discuss main educational issues and describe a philosophy of education that is based on an approachable style of teaching.
The most fundamental issue in education is student engagement. A studying process might be guided and facilitated by a teacher. However, the main responsibility for the positive results of educational programs falls on the shoulders of students. The success of such programs totally depends on student engagement. One of the best teaching strategies is the method based on an approachable style. It implies creating an environment in which students feel comfortable to communicate with an educator.
To achieve such an atmosphere, teaching assistants (TAs) might be very helpful. TAs have a unique status because they are closer in age to students than professors or other educators. “Knowing your students and allowing them to know you” assist in establishing more friendly relationships (Mawhinney & Sagan, 2007, p. 461). Students feel that the problems they are faced with might be addressed directly by TAs. Students perceive them not only as a representative of authority but also as a resource of helpful information. “Making oneself appear very approachable” increases chances that students will ask for consulting (Fraser, n.d., p. 1). Such interactions engage them more deeply in a studying process and consequently make them work more effectively.
Specific characteristics and activities might enhance approachability. Some of them are teaching enthusiasm, sense of humor, being supportive, spending time together outside of class, being practical and realistic, and tolerance towards students demonstrating a poor behavior. These examples seem to be obvious. However, educators often neglect some of them. The ability to act in a practical and realistic manner makes the presented information more understandable. In addition, such a manner reduces the effect of the superiority of an instructor. Students more often make positive responses when they see that teachers aim to help rather than exercise their power. Educators should negotiate “over what will be done and how it will be done” (Cuban, 1998, p. 87). Therefore, the main purpose of an educator is to assist students in accomplishing their goals.
Another way to become closer to students is to act in a more casual manner, though it is necessary to avoid showing incompetence. Students should be encouraged to express their opinions towards what they have learned. Also, teachers should apply different methods of instruction like lecturing, demonstrating, and discussion. However, such methods should involve fun activities that elicit positive emotions. Teachers that have accounts on Facebook can additionally motivate students by adding them to friends list (Fraser, n.d.). Such a method lets students feel more similarities with their instructors.
Another important aspect of an approachable style is assessment. All students’ activities in class eventually have to be evaluated. It is necessary to monitor the progress of students in order to appraise the effectiveness of an educational program. Evaluation is an additional motive that stimulates students to study harder. Also, assessment can help to determine the direction for the development of an educational program. There are various ways to assess academic achievements of students. It is necessary to use different types of evaluation as students have individual characteristics that should be taken into account. For example, some students cannot handle structured tests. This format does not let them apply their knowledge but only disturb such students. On the other hand, some learners lack the creativity to complete projects. It is very important to conduct a survey before studying new materials. Formative evaluations allow monitor progress during studying a new unit. Such a method helps instructors to determine the understandability of their explanations. On the other hand, summative assessments show the individual abilities and academic achievements after finishing a unit. In addition, it is necessary to assess both maximum and regular performances of students.
Technology is another important component of an educational process. The appropriate use of technology can provide more opportunities for students and instructors (Martinez, 2015). New technologies facilitate the work of teachers and make educational programs more efficient and interesting. Also, technologies promote the development of long-distance learning. The internet allows teachers to reach students from developing countries where many of them do not have access to high-quality education. Flexibly scheduled online classrooms provide an opportunity to study required subjects, interacting with other international learners. Therefore, new technologies influence the engagement of students, improve their achievement levels, and accelerate a learning process.
New technologies also have an impact on the future of learning. They affect several important aspects that will drastically change over time. First, learners will get more opportunities to study at different times and in different locations. A theory will be learned outside the class what will give more time to practical activities during a lesson. Second, new methods will be adapted, considering individual abilities of students. It will increase the level of academic achievements. Learners who cannot comprehend certain materials will get additional time to complete challenging tasks, and consequently, they will reach the required level. Also, it will increase the students’ confidence. Third, project-based education will improve the professional competence of graduate students. They will learn how to put knowledge into practice under different circumstances. Such educational methods will be focused on organizational and management skills that are necessary for future careers. Fourth, the development of modern technologies eliminates the necessity of mathematical skills. In the future, computers will conduct all data analyses. Therefore, educational programs will be less focused on improving mathematical literacy.
Education has a significant impact on modern societies. Roles that education plays vary as it has many purposes. First, it is an important part of a socialization process. Children in families cannot get necessary social skills and knowledge. However, educational institutions successfully complete this task. Second, it demonstrates beliefs and values of a culture of a society. Third, education aims at training for professions in demand. It prepares students for future careers, so they will play significant roles in society.
However, certain challenges occur when it comes to multicultural education. Its goals are to eliminate cultural prejudices, cultivate tolerance, and improve the level of education among minority students. Therefore, the main problem regarding multicultural education is to present students a variety of opinions and perspectives. It requires changing the traditional educational programs. However, it causes various moral and ethical issues. Instructors should take into consideration individual abilities and values of each student. Learners from rural areas, ethnical minorities, and other communities have different perceptions on the same subjects. They have different abilities that determine the speed of educational progress. Therefore, instructors should have a moral sensitivity that allows them to assess and judge students impartially and equally.
The approachable educational style is a comprehensive concept that involves various aspects. Some instructors argue this method, suggesting applying stricter rules. However, it is highly necessary to consider individual qualities of students, trying to find the most effective educational strategy. Therefore, a combination of different approaches should lead to better outcomes.
Cuban, L. (1998). A tale of two schools. Education Week, 17(20), 85-88.
Fraser, G. (n.d.). On the level: Engaging students by being more approachable. Web.
Martinez, D. (2015). Art of teaching: Instructive, authoritative and motivational. International Journal of Learning 10(2), 46-59
Mawhinney, T.S., & Sagan, L.L. (2007). The power of personal relationships. Phi Delta Kappan 88(6), 460-464.