Free «Writing to Participate» Essay Sample

Writing to Participate

Education is an essential component of a thriving society. The problem of poor reading skills is an obstacle to attaining the quality education for most students. Learning outcomes and good reading skills are affected significantly by students' attitudes toward education that are, in turn, influenced by factors such as motivation, constancy, and availability of academic resources. The current essay focuses on the issue of struggling readers in schools as it is a prevalent issue in various academic institutions and one that has been debated in numerous forums. The question raised regarding this problem is how to help the struggling readers to improve their reading skills as this would enhance their educational output (Boyer 1). Acquiring the quality education equips young minds with valuable and relevant skills necessary for the future success in life. The gap in education is the lack of adequate reading skills for many students in middle and high schools that affect their general academic performance and motivation to continue learning. The solutions to poor reading skills are dependent on the actions of teachers and parents.

Statement of the Problem

Literacy skills are a significant measure of learning outcomes; therefore, the lack of these skills is a problem in the education sector. The issue of struggling readers is a contributing factor to poor grades and is, thus, a hindrance to the learning process. According to Boling and Evans, the proportion of students in the United States with poor reading and writing skills are approximately eight million in number (59). The inadequacy in literacy skills steers dropout rates, forcing thousands of the American students to quit school each day (Boling and Evans 59). The high proportions of students who drop out is alarming; observing students in higher grades struggling to read basic words should be a challenge to different stakeholders in the education sector (Boyer 6). Students who drop out of school limit their options in the job market as literacy skills are essential to hold even minimum-wage jobs. The gap in education is influenced by teachers and parents in various ways.

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Teachers as stakeholders in the education sector are burdened with a lot of responsibility with regard to the learning outcomes of students. Problems involving teachers as educators also reflect on their students negatively; the most significant issue involving teachers is the high employee turnover rates experienced in most academic institutions. In their article, Jalongo and Heider (379) suggest that most new teachers – around 46%, quit their jobs within a period of five years and that 90% of the American teaching staff acquired their current jobs as replacements for other teachers who left their jobs, but not by way of retirement. It presents a challenge to the education budget as the constant replacement of teachers is costly; other education expenditures, learning resources, such as textbooks, subsequently suffer because of it (Boyer 2). The teacher turnover rates also affect the students. The loss of qualified educators results in a significant number of students receiving a substandard education (Jalongo and Heider 380). Having different teachers in class every few weeks challenges the concept of constancy in schools and also discourages students.

Parents play a vital role in the motivation of students, which is an essential ingredient in ensuring that students maintain their interest as well as their focus in school. According to Urdan, Solek, and Schoenfelder (17), students who experienced the undue pressure from their parents to perform well at school often projected a negative attitude toward their school work and, consequently, performed poorly. However, students whose parents were supportive were appreciative and held positive attitudes toward their learning which was reflected in their excellent performance. The findings from a study by Urdan, Solek, and Schoenfelder (17) uphold the premise that parents are essential stakeholders in the learning process of students; the perception of students towards their parents’ role in their education, namely authoritative or authoritarian, was an essential factor to their attitude towards schoolwork. The intentions of a parent can, thus, be misinterpreted by a student and affect their studies negatively. Parents should ensure that their objective to be supportive is clear to their child; educators can also contribute to this endeavor by advising parents appropriately (Boyer 5).

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Alternative Solutions

The first alternative is to get parents more involved in their children’s education in order to enhance positive attitudes towards education amongst students as well as isolate individual academic problems for each student. According to Ediger (47), parents can play an integral role in assisting students in improving their reading skills by suggesting to educators the specific areas where the student requires an assistance. It is impractical for teachers to detect specific reading problems for each student in class lessons lasting for an hour (Boyer 7). By demonstrating to parents the relevance and value of their input in the learning process, educators can help guardians in overcoming obstacles, such as cultural differences, which might have hindered parents from the prior participation. Building parent networks is also effective in resolving the lack of parents' participation in education (Boyer 5). The support of parents is crucial to most students who admire their parents and gain the confidence from their encouragement; this self-assurance is reflected in the learning outcomes of most students.

Another solution would be to reduce teacher turnover rates in order to ensure a higher proportion of the education budget is allocated to increasing education resources, such as textbooks, that will benefit students. Most new teachers are generally unprepared for their work assignments and become overwhelmed due to the reality shock of their jobs (Boyer 3). To combat this, an individual preparation will not be sufficient as it is essential to introduce a support system for new teachers, for instance, through the induction and mentoring programs (Boyer 3). New teachers require an assistance to be assimilated into school programs as well as comprehend the organizational cultures of the academic institutions in order to gain the confidence in teaching. It is also essential to increase incentives for the teaching staff in a bid to reduce turnover rates and promote the consistency. It takes time for teachers to identify the reading problems of their students; thus, changing teachers will often affect the students. In order to improve reading skills of students and consequently enhance their confidence, teachers should be creative in devising reading activities for students.

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Education is indispensible in surviving and succeeding in the twenty-first century. A positive attitude and sufficient effort into the learning process are crucial for students to attain the quality education to facilitate their future success. The outlook of students is affected by numerous elements, but the principal of which is the influence of the people around them, especially their teachers and guardians. Students require their parents' support in order to perform well at school. Parents who are supportive, rather than coercive, encourage their children to view education as a constructive experience instead of perceiving it as a punishment. In this regard, the positive outlook is reflected on the student’s academic performance. The teachers' turnover is a problem that reflects on the students as having different educators is discouraging for most students. To resolve these issues, it is essential for teachers to attempt to increase the participation of parents in their children’s education. Furthermore, it is essential for new teachers to receive the support structures and incentives in order to encourage them to keep their jobs. Poor literacy skills as a gauge of the quality education is affected by interactions that students have with their parents and teachers; constructive learning environments promote better outcomes. Thus, there is a need to resolve the existing issues in the education sector.