Education as It Is
Education is one of the cornerstones for the health and prosperity not only of one individual, but also of the whole nation. Though there exist numerous conservative traditions, and the representatives of the academic circles are often sluggish, the education system and educational institutions regularly change together with the changes in the society in order to stay effective. Moreover, there appear new ways of learning, new approaches and “you never know when you are going to understand something you hadn’t understood before” (Conroy, 1988). To my mind, the experience and realization of the importance of the knowledge for the individual is the main and the most effective motive to learning. Some persons understand it earlier, some later, but, finally, the learning is the most productive in the time period they become goal-oriented.
Nowadays many people have come to the idea that individual learning often appears to be the most effective. Therefore, it is interesting to analyze the differences between the independent learning and communal process, which are two important aspects of university learning. In order to find out how these two aspects coexist, it is necessary to pay attention to students’ diversity, subjectivities, and creativity. The modern world has undergone numerous changes during the past decades; the advanced technologies have provided students with numerous opportunities to eliminate the borders and make knowledge of the world available almost to everyone. Nevertheless, it is important to have financial support and be wise enough to use it. That is why at the same time the differences between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated became even more substantial. This gap can be decreased with help of a smart approach to the organization of both communal and independent learning processes, which would allow students from different social circles become closer.
On one hand, it is clear that university is not the place, where the young people should be forced to learn something – they have to understand on their own the importance of the knowledge they get, how it can help to fulfill the goals they pursue. On the other hand, learning in groups is useful because of the level of freedom the students get. In addition, students with lower level of preparedness can get help from their better-prepared colleagues and the overall level of knowledge in such group increases. As Convoy (1988) in his essay mentioned, his main hero was “a self-taught pianist, pretty shaky on theory and harmony” and he needed to “to fit the information into what he already knew”. Therefore, apart from the basic knowledge of a person the assistance of a group mates or of a teacher is always helpful.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned facts, there should be a balance between the individual learning and communal process. It is very important in terms of the development of students’ subjectivities. It is widely known that the main purpose of any university is to create a new specialist considering the individual peculiarities of this person. It is timely to remember Conroy (1988), who referred to the words of an old wise man, who smiled with significance, as if saying that things can be more complicated than they first appear. I believe this means that it is important to look deeper in order to understand what lies on the surface after all.
It is difficult to control the process of learning paying attention to each individual separately; controlling the communal learning process in whole is much easier. There are several reasons for that, among which the inability of the teachers to be on the “same page” with their students because of the age differences can be mentioned. Most teachers tend to be mentors that know more than students do, despite the fact that in some areas, considering peculiarities and of students and their desire to develop in different areas, students are more developed. Consequently, it confirms again the idea that self-education and self-orientation of a person is of great importance by learning. Hence, pressure by learning is a common fallacy, which can lead to the opposite result be it forcing a child to do lessons, a student to study or even an adult worker to learn something new. Therefore, the concernment and interest about the learning process of both the teacher and the student are important for the result by both in individual and communal processes of education. Only in case the teacher’s level of qualification and knowledge is lower than the student’s one individual learning would be more preferable. Otherwise, the communal process of education is more effective.
Finally, creativity is an important issue, which can influence the learning process development. Such trait is usually peculiar to artists, musicians and representatives of different imaginative professions. Creativity can be possessed only by a person, not by the whole group. Therefore, such people should learn individually. Teachers can sometimes teach such students in groups, too, if the aim is to help the creative students develop their leadership and some other skills.
To sum it up, it is essential to remember Conroy’s words “Education doesn’t end until life ends” (1988). Both individual learning and communal process bring knowledge and experience to a person. Nevertheless, in different cases different approaches to learning are more appropriate. For instance, the individual approach is more likely to develop the new ideas of a creative person, while working in the group is better in the most of other cases. Whichever type of learning is chosen, the inherent component of a successful studies is self-orientation and goal-orientation not only of the students, but also of the teachers. The teachers should know how to show the most appropriate way to master something to the students, what approach to learning to choose, would it be the individual one or communal process; they have to consider the peculiarities of their students. To do something properly it is always important to look deeper into the things, not only pay attention to what is on the surface.