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Why American Boarding Schools Are Effective at Educating the Youth?

Education is an aspect that the United States has always taken seriously. This is true since the days of the founding fathers. The thirty-fifth president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, captured this eloquently when he said, “Our progress as a nation cannot be swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource” (Kennedy 1961, p.1). This is why private and public effort has been directed towards the advancement of education in our nation through educational institutions (Spring 2009, p.9). There are two broad categories of schools that are responsible for the education of our youth. They are day and boarding schools.

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These three types of schools have various strengths and weaknesses as far as the education of our young people is concerned. The three types are boarding schools, day schools, and home schools. This research paper will provide reasons as to why boarding schools perform a better job at educating our youth.

First, boarding schools can provide the conditions that are necessary for the youth to become open-minded. Open-mindedness is a prerequisite for success in a world of diversity. How does this happen? The process of meeting new people other than the youth’s immediate families and interacting with them brings new perspectives into their lives. They can know that there is more than one reality in life and their ability to accept this fact is a necessity and not a luxury (Gay 2000, p.30).

This does not happen when the young people attend day schools or home schools where at the end of the day, the day school students run to the familiar environment of their families and the home school students do not even find a chance to meet learners from other families apart from their small circle of neighborhood friends (Banks 2010, p.7). This is an example of the conditions of learning theory that was developed by R.Gagne that informs us that for certain types of learning to occur, the conditions in the external and internal environment of the learner must permit the process of learning.

Secondly, in line with Gagne’s conditions of learning theory, boarding schools are uniquely suitable for imparting problem-solving skills to the youth. The conditions in boarding schools do not provide frequent contact between the learners and the close friends and family members such as their parents and siblings (Cookson&Persell 1985, p.57). These are the people who solve problems for these learners under normal circumstances but are not available to do this in boarding school situations. This scenario pushes the young people into making a healthy stretch of their minds as they search for ways of solving their problems.

The realization that it is their responsibility to solve their problems in the absence of family members leads to a point where these young people learn the skills of dealing with issues that the young people who go to day schools cannot deal with. It gets even more difficult for the young people educated at home to deal with such issues. If there is one important skill that has helped our nation achieve greatness, our men and women can solve problems. Therefore boarding schools teach our youth a very important skill (Thorn2003, p.56).

Leaving the above aside, the boarding schools in the United States are better equipped in terms of facilities and programs, an aspect that makes them the best places to educate our youth. Most of the boarding schools have excellent physical facilities such as decent classrooms and dorms where the learners lead comfortable lives as they take their education (Heiter 2004, p.12). The programs are also designed in such a way that the parents are invited from time to time as a way of giving the learners the required support to avoid homesickness.

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When these conditions work in tandem with the exclusively conducive atmosphere that is free from the disturbances that are always found in our homes, boarding schools emerge as the ultimate suitable places to educate our young people. The day school students always go home to the heated exchanges between the parents that are common in some families. The temptation to always watch television instead of studying is higher for day school and home school students. The list of distractions that home school and day school students face is endless.

In conclusion, boarding schools in the United States are better positioned to educate our young people. The strengths that are exclusively associated with boarding schools make the big difference between excellence and mediocrity in education in the United States. The reasons boarding schools have the upper hand include the provision of the climate that is necessary for the youth to become open-minded. Open-mindedness is a requirement for success in a world of diversity (Hillman & Thorn 1997, p.13).

Boarding schools also have the potential to teach the youth the skills that they need to solve problems. This is a cognitive ability that is not developed in day schools and home schools where young people can always have their parents and siblings solving problems for them. Lastly, there is the combination of excellent physical structures, well-designed programs that are supportive to student learning such as regular visits by parents, which when added to the fact that these institutions provide an atmosphere that is free from the distractions that are present in most homes, makes American boarding schools the best places to educate our youth.

References

Banks, J. (2010). Multicultural Education (Major Themes in Education). New York: Routledge.

Cookson, P.W. Jr. & Persell, C.H. (1985). Preparing For Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools. New York: Basic Books.

Gay, G. (2000).Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (Multicultural Education Series, No. 8). New York: Teachers College Press.

Heiter, C. (2004). American Boarding Schools. New York: ThingsAsian Press.

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Hillman, T &Thorn, C. (Eds). (1997). Far & Wide: Cultural Diversity in American Boarding Schools. New York: Avocus Publishing.

Kennedy, F.J. (1961). Special Message to the Congress on Education. Web.

Spring, J. (2009). American Education. (14th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Thorn, C. (Ed). (2003). Second Home: Life in a Boarding School. (2nd ed). New York: Avocus Publishing.

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