Descartes And The Mind-Body Relationship Essay Example For College

In the 17th century, one of the most prominent philosophers of all time, René Descartes, put forward his view of the relationship between the mind and the body. Urban (2018) states that, in Descartes’s view, matter is spatial, and it possesses attributes confirming it, while mental entities have no such attributes. For one, the mind, as a mental entity, cannot be characterized by space; its primary feature, as per Descartes, is consciousness (Urban, 2018). However, the body is undoubtedly a spatial entity: it occupies space and has physical attributes; therefore, the mind and the body are essentially different. The difficulty that this difference brings is the impossibility of the interaction between the two due to the contradiction involved. The body occurs in space, while the mind does not, and for them to interact, a non-spatial entity is to act on a spatial one, which seemed inconceivable to the philosopher.

Descartes’s perception of the mind-body relationship plays an essential role in influencing the contemporary practice of psychology. For one, many specialists today use the philosopher’s idea to demonstrate how far science has gone because, in the view of modern psychology, the mind and the body are inextricably connected. Today it is a proven fact that not only does the mind impact one’s ways of thinking and feeling, but also the way the body feels sometimes. Another way that Descartes’s view affects psychology is that it prompts professionals in the field to study the notion of both the mind and the body being entities of the physical world. This idea was put forward by scientists and philosophers, and psychologists work on establishing their point of view on this matter. Finally, driven by Descartes’s explanation of his mind-body relationship theory, specialists tend to ensure to distinguish between the brain and the mind in their practice since these are, in fact, two distinct entities.

Reference

Urban, E. (2018). On matters of mind and body: Regarding Descartes. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 63(2), 228-240.

Effective Teacher-Student Ratios And Class Sizes

Introduction

Effective school education is one of the basic foundations for building a developed, healthy, educated, and empathetic society. The foundation is laid for essential social interaction and self-education skills at this stage. It may be considered that the more teachers work in schools, the better it is for the process, but this is not entirely true. The government and organizations are aware of the importance of this process. Therefore, they strive to pay due attention and resources to PK–12 education. However, even these significant resources are limited, so there is a need to find the optimal balance between the effectiveness of the learning process and the funding spent.

The teacher-student ratio is significant for an effective learning process. It displays how many students in one institution account for one teacher. Ames et al. (2020), in their research, found that the student-teacher ratio and teacher’s experience have the most significant effect on school performance in the short and middle term. However, a study by Leuven and Lokken (2020) found no relationship between small class sizes and better performance or higher-paying jobs in the future. Reducing classes allows the teacher to pay more attention to each student. It makes education more individual and of high quality, but the financial justification for such a step is controversial.

Some states regulate this ratio and set limits on the maximum number of students in one class, and others do not apply this practice. There are no minimum class sizes for the PK-12 education in the legislation, and this number is limited only by the expediency of funding. For example, according to the Florida Department of Education in Florida, the class size is enshrined in the Constitution (Florida Department of Education). It corresponds to 18 students per teacher in prekindergarten through grade 3, 22 students per teacher in grades 4 through 8, and 25 students in grades 9 through 12 per one teacher. In Texas, the system is different, and each district must maintain an average ratio of 20 students for one teacher (Texas Education Agency). Despite varying regulatory practices, most states limit the maximum number of students per class.

Support Staff

Not only teachers are an essential component of the learning process in schools since a large and significant part of the work for a successful process is entrusted to the support staff. They help support the social, emotional, physical, and other needs of students to help them reach their full potential in learning. Staff may help overcome the lack of time and space, as well as develop a trusting relationship between students and teachers (Littlecott et al., 2018). Support staff, such as custodial, security, and food service, can play an essential role in school systems to improve student outcomes, well-being, and health. Support staff includes teacher assistants, whose positive impact on learning is noteworthy. Assistants are paid less and may not be as efficient as teachers. Still, their presence and assistance have a positive effect on academic performance (Hemelt et al.,2021). Thus, it may be necessary to focus not only on the level of funding and teachers’ quality but also on the level of staffing.

The ratio of school support staff to students shows an upward trend, even more than the teacher-student ratio. The most significant increases are among psychologists, corrective therapists, and other staff members that provide unique services for students with particular health needs (Crockett & Villanueva, 2018). Despite a noticeable increase, the number of such personnel is relatively small. In California, for example, there is one nurse per every 2,410 students and one psychologist per 1,041 students; the special education personnel ratio is 1 to 962 students (California Department of Education). Most likely, this is due to their indirect involvement in the learning process and because test results or graduates’ success cannot assess their importance. However, their contribution is no less significant, and their contribution to the effectiveness of education is already confirmed by research.

Suggested Standards and What Can Be Expected

Establishing a causal relationship between the number of staff, class size, and learning outcomes will remain relevant in the future. Reducing the size of the classes and increase in staff seems a simple and positive step, but it is not financially easy to implement. (Aggarwal, 2018). Increased spending per student might be considered a feasible alternative for enhancing student learning results, however, it is likely to be equally costly. Most likely no method to enhance something as complicated as student learning outcomes by concentrating just on one element. For this reason, only an integrated approach can be the solution. It should include the simultaneous improvement of the Teacher-Student Ratios, increasing the quality, quantity, and diversity of staff.

Expectations refer to the level of the expected performance of faculty and staff. To improve academic performance in PC-12, it is important when they clearly articulate expectations from students, and set specific goals and standards of behavior and academic performance. In this process, it is important to discuss this with students, highlight their efforts and make sure they understand the consequences of not living up to these expectations. All this is made possible by reducing class sizes and increasing the number of staff per student. However, there are some difficulties due to discrepancies between school funding and performance related to the funding system itself (Baker et al., 2017). At the end of each academic year, the top-performing schools are rewarded with additional funding, while the least-performing schools are given additional resources in various programs (Ames et al., 2020). As a result, all these resources are distributed inconsistently every year, and their effect is leveled. A shift in priorities and models, as well as more attention and regulation, could significantly improve the experience for students, teachers, and staff.

Conclusion

Reducing class sizes has a number of benefits, such as improved educational outcomes, more attention to each student, an individualized approach, and the development of closer relationships between teachers and students. In addition, it can even make the work of teachers more accessible and less stressful. An increase in support staff per student also brings positive results, which are reflected in both an increase in academic performance and in the improvement of other aspects of school life, such as social ties, relationships between teachers and students, and others.

Implementation of such changes is very difficult from a financial point of view and will require more fundamental changes in the system of distribution of funds. The benefits and expected results of the further introduction of small classes and the development of support staff can lead to significant improvements in the education system and academic performance. If it is rather challenging to determine the impact of reducing class sizes and increasing staff and the quality of teachers, then the right decision would be to use all three steps at the same time, which would give the most comprehensive and tangible results. In the long term, such trends will have an impressive impact on the entire education system and the future of the whole society.

References

Aggarwal, L. (2018). The Effects of student-teacher ratio on test scores: Applying ceteris paribus to California and Massachusetts schools. Undergraduate Economic Review, 15(1), 4. Web.

Ames, A. J., Angioloni, S., & Ames, G. C. (2020). Drivers of school performance over time: Evidence from public schools in the United States. Advances in Educational Research and Evaluation, 1(2), 79-87. Web.

Baker B, Farrie D, Johnson M, Luhm, T., & Sciarra G. D. (2017). Is school funding fair? A national report card. Sixth edition. Rutgers Education Law Center.

Florida Department of Education. Class size. Florida Department of Education. Web.

Hemelt, S. W., Ladd, H. F., & Clifton, C. R. (2021). Do teacher assistants improve student outcomes? Evidence from school funding cutbacks in North Carolina. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 43(2), 280-304. Web.

Leuven, E., & Lokken, S. A. (2020). Long-term impacts of class size in compulsory school. Journal of Human Resources, 55(1), 309-348. Web.

Littlecott, H. J., Moore, G. F., & Murphy, S. M. (2018). Student health and well-being in secondary schools: The role of school support staff alongside teaching staff. Pastoral care in education, 36(4), 297-312. Web.

Crockett, A., & Villanueva, C. (2018). Staffing levels in schools: What the numbers do (and don’t) tell us. Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Texas Education Agency. Maximum class size exeptions. Texas Education Agency. Web.

California Department of Education. (2021). Ratio of students to pupil support service personnel. Kids Data. Web.

Mass Shootings: Global Firearm Ownership

The U.S. leads the globe in mass shootings that have been escalating fortnight. It is a paradox and a tad embarrassing that the country with the most effective policing and security systems cannot confront mass shootings. The Federal Bureau of Investigations FBI defines mass shootings as any incident that cause the death of at least four people murdered with a gun. According to NBC Philadelphia, over 400 mass shootings in 2022 so far have been pervading schools (O’Kruk, 2022). As Americans grapple with these horrific shootings, experts and political and religious leaders hold clashing perspectives on the cause and the most effective solution to the increasing gun violence. The only solution to the gun menace America is facing lies in the decision of Congress to pass legislation that will allow the recall of all firearms held by citizens and restrict their access.

The current U.S. gun policy allows the right to keep and bear Arms that have caused the deadliest scale of gun violence, making mass shootings just a fraction. Americans own over 393 million registered firearms, more than the American population alone adults (Ingraham, 2021). In efforts to deal with mass shootings, Congress has been making efforts to legislate new gun laws but has been crippled by strong opposition from conservatives. Only firearm recalls and limiting access to guns will limit gun violence (Rood, 2018). Conservatives argue that criminals will still have more access to guns despite regulation; therefore, it is fair to permit guns to potential victims for self-security (Rood, 2018). I hold that gun violence contributes largely to crimes, and making more guns accessible will escalate the problem. The Brady Act of 2008 and the most recent bipartisan gun violence bill are the strides made by Congress that make little but a notable breakthrough in controlling guns by introducing reforms to enhance the screening process when purchasing guns. Leaders should stop these political gimmicks with Americans’ life and make the tough decision to recall and restrict access of guns.

References

Ingraham, C. (2021). Analysis | there are more guns than people in the United States, according to a new study of global firearm ownership. The Washington Post.

O’Kruk, A. (2022). On most days in the U.S. this year, there has been a mass shooting. These graphics reveal a lot about them. NBC10 Philadelphia.

Rood, C. (2018). “Our tears are not enough”: The warrant of the dead in the rhetoric of gun control. Quarterly journal of speech, 104(1), 47-70.

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