Why Education Is Important
Education, whether formal or informal, can shape an individual's life, both in the classroom and outside of it. A quality education can lay the groundwork for a successful career, but that's far from its only purpose. Education imparts knowledge, critical thinking skills, and, in many cases, an improved ability to approach unfamiliar situations and subjects with an open mind.
Teachers, parents, and society at large have debated at length the criteria that denote a "good" education. In recent years, many educators have attempted to develop their curricula based on research and data, integrating the findings of developmental psychology and behavioral science into their lesson plans and teaching strategies. Recent debates have centered on how much information should be tailored to individual students vs. the class at large, and, increasingly, whether and how to integrate technology into classrooms. Students’ age, culture, individual strengths and weaknesses, and personal background—as well as any learning disabilities they may have—all play a role in the effectiveness of particular teachers and teaching methods.
How Can We Make Education More Effective?
The world is changing rapidly, and so are children’s educational needs. While many people agree that education should prepare children for a competitive global economy, there has also been a push to recognize that children's well-being should be taken into consideration when planning curricula and structuring the school day.
To this end, parents and educators are confronting pedagogical questions such as: What is the optimal time to start school to make sure students can learn effectively—and get enough rest? How many and what kind of breaks do students need during the day? What are the best ways for students to learn, and do they differ depending on the subject being taught—or the students themselves?
In some of these areas, big changes are already taking place. Some states, for instance, are considering or have already passed laws that would delay school start times, making them more conducive to children's sleeping schedules. Other states have passed laws requiring recess, ensuring that children have access to physical activity throughout the day. These reforms, along with others, aim to protect children's physical and mental health—in addition to making them better able to focus, learn, and grow.