Two countries that are convincingly ranked as the absolute education role models are South Korea and Finland. Although the two countries straggled in the past, having problems with their education systems, both of them managed to build up a stable and reputable education institution. The two systems differentiate from each other very much. Finland relies on a more flexible system where children are given a lot of free space to investigate and explore, are not familiar with standardized test or loads of homework and build up their identity and human relations on cooperation and competition. South Korea, considered as the best educated country, brings some different views to the table. A very strong cultural background of highlighting the value of education is what stands behind South Korea’s huge educational success. This country has an incredibly high percent of literacy and looks at education as the way to climb up the socio-economic ladder in the community. Children tend to spend way more time in school compared to the Finish ones and it isn’t rare that they are under a lot of pressure. Being on top of international comparative tests of achievement, critical thinking and analysis comes with its prize. But the strong belief in education and hard work is what keeps them working even harder.
Although completely different there is one point on which both education systems agree. High ranking and respect towards the teachers is one of the key factors of their immense success. Teachers are highly respected and valued members of the society. In countries where teachers are appreciated and their job is seen as a crucial contribution to the whole society are the countries who suffer less education problems. Many of the countries do not recognize the importance of the educator’s job. After parents, educators can been seen as the most influential role models for children. A common definition of role models stresses out that a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be imitated by other people, especially by younger ones, is seen as a role model. So what can teachers do to be up to the tasks and responsibilities they are given?
Teachers are the ones who can actively contribute to children’s development of individual and critical thinking. They are the ones who teach them team work and cooperation. Having humble teachers, schools develop humble pupils who will look up to their mentors in term of their values and behavior. What they hear and learn from their teachers will determine their relationship to the subjects they learn, arts or physical activities. The ones who are going the extra mile and are enabling extracurricular activities for children are sending a loud message about being passionate about their work and that is what we want for children to have in their future careers. Incorporating democratic values in class may sound as too serious for a young age, but there is no better time to teach children how to present own arguments while respecting the opposite ones. Role models are individuals, and personal beliefs and values determine who our role models will be. But since it is inevitable for children to spend so much time with their teachers, it should be seen as a top priority to provide them professional teachers with high sense of moral values.
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