Ellis: Educational Challenges

Ellis (n.d.) describes the high calling in which educators find themselves .  I was intrigued to think about the contrast of education in a tribal, non-technological, knowledge-is-static society versus our current modern, fast-paced society.  Ultimately both societies ground their meaning from their shared past and traditions.  The challenge for the teacher in modern society is the increasing and sometimes conflicting demands being put on teachers.

From day-to-day, the teacher has information to impart, against a somewhat ominous background of standardized testing, or cynicism of colleagues.  However, the part that makes it the best use of my time, is the privilege and responsibility that educators have to shape society, one pupil at a time.  Ellis (n.d.) puts it this way:

The purpose of education, the role of the teacher, and society’s challenges all go hand in hand.  To be a teacher is to be a very important person in the process of human and social development.

That shaping of society is a common thread for educators between the tribal culture, and the modern age.  Both had to enculturate youth, both had to socialize youth.  This also means that the measure of success has been virtually the same from that age to this one, namely, do the pupils thus taught become engaged and productive partakers in their community life.

Ellis lists the functions of social education discussing the tensions that may arise between them.

  • transferring skills
  • transmitting values
  • preparation for vocation
  • caretaking of youth
  • peer group interactions

And finally, he discusses briefly the American Experiment, namely the duties and responsibilities of the teacher to relate founding principles of this country, and a notion of its exceptionalism.  That’s a loaded term, of course, but accurately encapsulates what it means to be American, out of the many cultures of the world that make us up, one, unique and different body.  That concept has given meaning to many before, and continues to inspire.


Ellis (n.d.) Educational Challenges.  retrieved from http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-6-ellis-educational-challenges.pd

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