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Eric Donald Hirsch Jr. Influence on The American Educational System

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Education has proved to be an important aspect of our daily lives. Most of us have grown in a system where we think and believe that education is all about cramming and passing exams. This is far from the main aim of learning. Education is supposed to help people to understand things, think critically and intensively. Education provides individuals with a background that can enable them to see things from a more detailed and informed perspective. As a result, educated people can make informed choices and decisions. Education gives people an open-mind from which they can challenge things even their own understandings. According to Martin Luther King Jr., the core purpose of education is to teach people how to think critically and intensively. This paper will discuss exceptional educational experiences which have shaped my character and ability to think.

There are individuals who have had a significant impact on the education sector. Eric Donald Hirsch Jr. is among individuals who have had an immense impact on the American education system. Eric is an educator and educational literary criticizer. Eric is known for the common core curriculum that was adopted by a bulk of U.S states in 2015. The new curriculum was developed by Eric after studying composition for a long time. His basic concept is to ensure that students have proper background knowledge that will enable them to understand the concepts they read. According to Eric, the previous curriculum puts a lot of emphasis on readability rather than background knowledge (Hirsch 23). He argues that possessing background knowledge will improve students’ ability to understand and develop a desire to comprehend new material.

In his latest work, Why Education Matters, Hirsch largely critiques the emblematic American approach towards education. It emphasizes on students obtaining skills to identify the main idea and make conclusions from clues they obtain from the text they read.This approach fails to emphasize the content which students are supposed to learn. Currently, most educational programs encourage students to master specific skills while they diminish the value of content. According to Hirsch, this approach should be invalidated because it confuses a mastery of skills with the final content students will possess. Students who have mastered a handful of skills are presumed to be learned but in the real sense, they lack in the final content (Hirsch Jr. 36). Also, the current trend of increased testing has contributed to the narrowing down of the curriculum making students shift from subjects that teach content such as sciences to those that do not prescribe content such as languages. Hirsch argues that students need to master certain simple elements before they are made to move on to other complex material. He insists that all children should learn vital content irrespective of the method that will be used to teach them. He dismisses the inquiry approach of learning because he believes such students will not possess any content in the end.

Hirsch’s works are compellingly among the most influential pieces in the education sector. Hirsch improves the way one perceives learning. For instance, I believe that I need to change the way I read. I should put more focus on the content of the text rather than mastering the major clues and memorizing the text. I concur with Hirsch that, mastering the content is critical in comprehending complex material in the future. Also, possessing content is relevant to real life situations because students will be able to form informed arguments and rational decisions. Therefore, Hirsch’s work has impacted my character and ability to think as a student. Moreover, it has helped me to view education from a different perspective.

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