To me, the American Creed means the freedom to be who you are and become anything you want to be. It is the common goal of everyone in this country; having the ability to do what you want. No one wants to be told and forced what to do. This belief is why I felt like I associated with Mark from Grass Field, California and how he explained this Creed as self-governing (American Creed, 2018). Having the freedom to control your own destiny and deciding what is best for you is what America, and even the American Dream, is all about. Without the freedom to do this, America is no better than any other authoritarian country.
An important factor that acts as a backbone of this creed, is the freedom of choice. Here in America, we possess this freedom to the extreme; to the point it typically gets taken for granted. We have choices we make every day, and every single choice came with the freedom to do so. Some places the people get told what to wear, who to talk to, what to do with their life etc. But in America, you make the decision for yourself. For life in America, you control your destiny and you can make the most of it. I was able to take my own interests and choose Education as a career to work towards because of this freedom of choice. I chose to follow a path that I know I am interested in, and I was able to do this thanks to the self-governing aspect of the American Creed.
Another important factor to uphold this creed is the equality spread out evenly. No one citizen deserves more access to resources than the next in order for the “American Dream” to be truly obtainable and fair. The idea that fame and fortune await those willing to work for it promotes an equal chance. However, as explained in “American Creed”, this is definitely not the case. In the case of Arkansas, people didn’t have anything close to the same access that I was provided. If I was born in the featured town rather than my own, I more than likely would not be in college pursuing an education degree. This is a big problem in our country, especially in the education system. The way we fund our schools has led to an extreme gap of resources and knowledge between urban and suburban schools and should be addressed. We need a more equal educational system to help improve our nation and its educational system. However, a making better education system doesn’t just stop at the freedom of choice, a fix for funding or making education more equal for everyone. A great teacher can change the path of a student, and I hope to be in that position to turn a student in the right direction. Great teaching makes a difference, and great teaching is what can help better our future and better our American creed.
There is so much more to the profession of teaching than relaying information and giving tests. Effective teaching is made up of several components molded into one that takes root in the student and allows them to flourish. To me, some of the most important factors to a good education are the curriculum and how it is presented, an open flow of ideas and discussion, and the concern for the rights of individuals and the “common good.” You can find two of these factors explained in the Beane and Apple reading “The Case for Democratic Schools” in the list about the values and content of Democracy. The concern for the rights of individuals and the “common good” are made up of two components, those being the importance of individual rights as well as the collective good (Beane and Apple 2007). These are extremely important in education as every student has different needs, however no one student is more deserving of education than the rest, and everyone should act in the best interest of everyone.
The second factor, having an open flow of ideas and discussion, is also a combination of two values from the Beane and Apple reading. The open flow of ideas combined with the use of critical reflection and analysis is what forms this component (Beane and Apple 2007). There was a quote by Ralph Nader that says, “The best teacher is your last mistake” and if a classroom doesn’t indorse an open flow of ideas, students will be shut off from trying and allowing themselves to make mistakes and learn; and if your classroom environment doesn’t promote free thinking, chances are constructive criticism won’t have much structure either. This eliminates two ways to help deepen a student’s education.
The third factor, which focus on curriculum and the way information is presented, is directly related to my philosophy of education that is laid out in Oaks and Lipton’s reading called “Teaching Change to the World”. My philosophy on education has a key focus on having a curriculum that fits the student’s life and helps to eliminate the question of “when am I ever going to need to know this” while still conveying the meaning that is needed. This association between real life and education falls under the child-and-community-centered schooling and constructivist philosophy (Oaks and Lipton 2007). Even in different parts of the world, you can see this connection of real life and education working. In the reading “Afrocentric Curriculum” by Asante, he explains the benefit of being able to relate what is being taught directly to the student and their life. Primarily, his reading explained connecting through heritage of the student and their family. He talked about being able to look at a student and recognize where their ancestors may have come from and it sparked their interests as they now felt connected to the topic.
compared his time in African and time spent teaching African-American students
and time spent teaching Caucasian students and how he related to each
differently by using familiar names of people from their specific cultural
history. He also mentioned how different our education here in America since
that connection doesn’t exist, especially for African-American students
learning white culture history, which he mentions often means them experiencing
the death of their culture (Asante 1991).
Asante, Molefi Kete. (1991). Afrocentric Curriculum. Book. Retrieved from https://blackboard.utdl.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-6856298-dt-content-rid- 57226106_1/courses/TSOC3000001201910/Asante%2C%201991%2C%20Afrocentric%20curricul um%281%29.pdf
Kate S. (Producer) and Sam B. (Director). (2018). American Creed. [Motion Picture]. United States of America: WTTW and Citizen Films.Tags: University of Toledo
The American Creed and Education by Eric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.