Who Invented School?

There isn’t a school child alive today who hasn’t, at some point, wished that schools had never been invented. If they hadn’t, they’d be free to play all day right? Who is the person who’s responsible for creating schools in the first place?

There isn’t actually a simple answer to this question. Rather than being invented in the format we know it in today, the concept of ‘school’ has evolved over centuries, changing along the way.

The first known instance of a formal school can be traced back to Ancient Greece. With a culture that placed such a high value on knowledge and wisdom, it’s not surprising that this is the case. Around 385 BC, groups of students would get together to learn from a teacher, in groups called ‘academies’. The name came about due to Plato, who founded a school of Philosophy near an area named Akademia.

School in Ancient Greece wasn’t run anything like a modern school is today. The teachers would concentrate on more free form topics, encouraging students to think about topics such as ‘the meaning of life’. This began to change in 425 AD with the Byzantine Empire. The schooling system was adjusted to fit the needs of military personnel, the people who would be attending. The focus was on more rigid topics, such as Math and History. However, this system was lost with the fall of the Empire in 1453 AD.

Every culture developed differently when it came to education, but here in the west schooling was known for years as only for the rich. Poorer children would never be sent to schools. Instead, they would work to contribute to the family’s upkeep. In the UK, children were famously known for being chimney sweeps as they were small enough to fit up chimneys.

In the US, Horace Mann and Harry P. School were two men who began to gather children together in groups in order to educate them. In the UK, Robert Raikes introduced Sunday Schools, and the law was changed in 1870 so all children had to be educated.

Schools were very different back then, but this was the turning point that lead to the creation of the modern schooling system as we know it today. Children weren’t separated by age, so every child in the school may be taught in the same room. In a larger school, you could be looking at 80-90 children in a class. This has been changed, but we still see some Victorian ideas in schools today.

Schools weren’t so much ‘invented’ as created over the years, becoming what we know today. There’s no one inventor of the school, but plenty of people who have contributed to the idea over time.

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Do We Need Art In Our Lives

Do We Need Art In Our Lives

No one will be surprised to hear that the arts are under fire in this day and age. Any child who expresses an interest in pursuing a career in the arts is advised to pursue other talents instead. We view the arts as something of a hobby, something that’s fun but certainly can’t pay the rent. If it’s not a useful skill, no wonder arts funding is being slashed in schools. Do we really need art in our lives?

In schools, time and money is at a premium, now more than ever. With teachers having to fit so many lessons into every day, it’s easy to see why art is dropping more and more by the wayside. Budgets are dropping at an alarming rate too, and what school is going to drop teaching in essential subjects such as math or science when they can drop art instead?

It seems as though the loss of art in daily life is a sad fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s actually a lot of practical uses for art for many people. For example, art therapy has helped people with a range of illnesses, both mental and physical, cope with their symptoms. Art is found almost anywhere you look in your home. Practical items, such as bedspreads, furniture or clothing, are all art forms in themselves and evoke emotions in the people interacting with them.

Art also gives us insight into the world at large. History tells us what happened and when it happened, but it can’t tell us how the population at large felt about it. That’s where art steps in. We know a lot about how people in the past lived and worked, because their art has given us such a deep insight into their daily lives. We wouldn’t have that insight without it.

Most of all though, we need art in our lives as it gives us a form of self expression. Being able to talk about our feelings is essential to staying healthy. You many not think you talk about your feelings, but you may express them in other ways. Some like to cook or bake, some like to work on machinery, and others may like to paint or draw. Whatever you like to do in your spare time, you’re probably creating art every day.

So, do we need art in our lives? Many people would say no, but the art they’re thinking of is the art you see in galleries. Art is actually much more accessible and is truly needed in everyday life. It helps those in need, gives people in the future an idea of what life was like, and is a vital form of self expression.

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Is Homework Harmful or Helpful?

The issue of homework has always been one that’s been hotly contested between students and teachers. With homework levels increasing year after year, and the stress levels of students increasing, it’s been suggested that doing away with homework entirely would help students learn better when they’re in school. So, can homework help learning, or is it just busywork?

There are certainly a wide array of benefits to assigning students homework. In a busy classroom, a student may not have the time or the resources to be able to properly understand the concepts they are being taught. When they’re assigned homework that reinforces the ideas from the classroom, the student can work at it at their own pace, and begin to understand the theories they’re being taught.

As well as academic knowledge, homework also helps develop essential skills for later life. Having to do homework means that a student must develop time management, independent working, and research skills. Self reliance can’t easily be taught in a school setting, so homework is the best way of letting students develop it for themselves.
However, there are serious downsides to assigning homework. Students with supportive parents will be able to complete their assignments with ease, as they’ll have a suitable environment at home in which to study in, and can call on parents for assistance if and when needed. Not all students are lucky enough to have this arrangement, though, so homework creates a divide between those who do have support and those who don’t. This divide will affect the education of the students who don’t, through no fault of their own.

As well as this, homework can have quite a serious impact on a student’s social and family life. Just as an adult needs a good work/life balance to remain at their best in their job, a student needs time to relax, spend time with their family, and play. If they don’t get this, their performance at school can suffer dramatically. Burnout is a very real danger when it comes to homework.

Homework itself doesn’t appear to be the enemy, but the amount and the intensity of it is. Even teachers with the best intentions at heart can assign too much, causing problems for their students. It seems that the solution is not to abolish homework altogether, but to put limits on how and when it is assigned.

So, is homework harmful or helpful? It can be both, depending on the student’s circumstances, and how much homework is assigned to them. It can help them develop skills that would be difficult to nurture in the school setting, and it can give them the time and space to understand concepts that may have passed them by otherwise. On the other hand, it can have a serious effect on a student’s work/life balance, and can create a divide between the students who get support, and those who don’t. When assigned sparingly and with good reason, a good balance can be maintained and facilitate a student’s learning.

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