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May 2nd, 2013
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Global Critical Reasoning Accelerating the Pace of Education Reform

  A steady development of a country is always accompanied with a dramatic growth of its education. Japan presents a perfect example of the developed country with small territory and limited resources but tremendous economic success, which greatly attributes to the high rate of educational expenditures to national income. Yet, as people pursue a better educational reform for their countries, unsurprisingly they confront with diverse tough educational issues, such as inequality of access and quality, and school violence. In pursuit of efficient solutions to our educational problems, critical thinking greatly contributes to our true understanding of circumstances and their causes by encouraging us to develop questions and examine arguments. However, because the critical reasoning towards national situations braves the challenges of global perspectives, people might still end up missing the larger picture without considering more universal approaches. In order to overcome the weakness of narrow ideas, people have to accommodate new information and rethink their reasoning as descending upon international stories from different societies. Thus, a global perspective reinforces the importance of critical thinking towards our educational issues and fosters us to propose feasible solutions because it not only provides a more comprehensive truth and but also reshapes what people are thinking.

  Critical reasoning towards our educational issues usually improves people’s ability to understand the truth, because it greatly prevents people from false logic and dependence on authorities.Some people argue that educational inequality derives from economic inequality and call for equal funds from the government. However, from a critical thinking, a question which might be raised, is that even if the government gives funds to all poor kids in order to guarantee their access to schools, have their poor kids’ future been ensured in a way? Unfortunately, the situation is much more complex. Because the facts that their parents did not attend the college and they cannot have tutoring at home like rich children remain unchanged. To strength the point, education is not just the educational issue, either. This can be seen through an assumption that if we put poor children into the best school with sufficient resources and experienced teachers, those poor children perhaps do not even know what questions to ask. Hence, their backgrounds limit their steps through many aspects, which complexes the whole situation a lot. Similarly, when the government set up standardized tests as gate of most institutions, people should realize that this measurement of students’ ability through testing score is not that valid because a student with great score on SAT might have a difficulty on making a budget; a student without a decent score might be amazingly good at social networks. Although it is true that the government has gone a long way to current educational system, their devoted efforts should not stop us questioning the efficiency of policies. Therefore, the careful reasoning can protect people from logical fallacies and push us forward into the truth.

   To take a step further, a global perspective reshapes what people think by fostering them to become open and critical thinkers because it provides a more comprehensive picture of educational issues. It is well-known that diverse academic rewards exist for inspiring students and professors to pursue scholarly contributions and maximize their academic potentials. For example, almost all Nobel Prize winners cannot deny the motivation lied behind generous amount of rewards and unmeasurable reputation. Meanwhile, most people support these forms of incentives because increasing people

want to accomplish excellent academic jobs, contributing to make our world a better place. However, when it comes to China, many prestigious professors and academic leaders are focusing on building up good relationships with state officials who control the officials’ academic appraisals, but not on their research work (Su). This global observation might lead people to carefully reflect the effect of rewards system. In the questioning of the causes of this situation in China, those professors with indecent behavior were not the only group blamed, but also assessment departments where few discreet evaluations conducted. Hence, people might doubt that any similar incident also has occurred in the U.S. because of the flaws of rewards system. In this way, people learn to be critical even in front of content circumstances as open to other contrasting cases. Also, a global prospective helps people gain a comparatively broad picture of the same issue so that they reshape their thoughts.

  However, global learning does not guarantee success because critical thinking warns people that no model is necessarily perfect; systems cannot be simply implemented without considering diverse contexts. As truth revealed, unequal paces of educational growth provide the opportunity for the countries left behind to catch up with developed countries with comparatively sufficient experience in education reform. China, for example, is confronting many educational issues with the burst of widespread educational awareness. The trend of exam-oriented educational system sweeps most cities and towns and the oppressive top-down educational standards of test performance are influencing tens of millions of students and teachers. Meanwhile, the infusion of critical thinking towards western education system is bringing a new concept of “openness and innovation” to Chinese people. With the increasing of exchange programs and visiting scholars, more Chinese are gradually changing their academic attitudes to a more practical and creative direction through this global vision. Especially when it comes to the elective courses system, it is exciting for Chinese students when this system was introduced into many mainland cities. Luckily, the accomplishment has continued to today because not only do students have opportunities to explore their interest through elective classes but also they start to rethink their purpose of studying by themselves. Even so, this global approach does not mean that Chinese should entirely adopt the western educational system. According to the academic report, in Shanghai, the average 15-yearold mathematics student is performing at a level two or three years above his or her counterpart in USA, and Europe (Phung). At the same time, this implies that Chinese students are taking intensive academic burden both physically and mentally. But this concern will not simply lead Chinese government to rewrite the policy and set high school students free from complicated calculus. To take a step back, even though Chinese people are interested in western educational system, people in western world are not regarding it as perfect. Overall, critical concerns remind people that global approaches do not always have a happy ending.

  Although global visions might not directly help solve the educational issues due to the coexistence of similar problems, a global significance has been reinforced through finding common grounds. In the wake of frequent tragic incidents on a global scale, school violence is widely held to have become a more serious problem in the past decade than in previous years. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old guy killed her mom at home and shot 20 youth and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown (Warner). On April 16, 2013, in Fudan University, one Chinese 2010 graduate student was poisoned by his roommate Lin to death (Ricky). These two incidents seem unrelated, which leads some people to state that this global comparison is meaningless. But while people criticize both issues, they find out the common grounds of causes, which is the lack of moral education and spiritual care to young people. Despite the distinct backgrounds including academic achievements and family relationships, there is no reason to give an exception for students to commit murders. Unfortunately, the murder on campus is often uncontrolled though it is rare. The international prospective cannot predict and stop what will happen in another country. For instance, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting does not make a difference on Lin’s motives and actions. But the global awareness of school violence is raised and help educate people to emphasize the efforts of moral education and promote a safe environment for students. Thus, by analyzing common causes of different incidents globally, people can learn the lesson of tragedy from other countries.

  When people become critical towards current issues, importantly they should step back to see a bigger picture in order to ensure a far-reaching educational reform. During the past decade, successful implementations of imported educational systems have proved that an international vision can speed up paces of reform by careful adoptions based on various contents. Though not all situations provide the most appropriate alternative, the larger echo can push central issue forward and lead people to better solutions. Since developing a more mature higher education system is every society’s responsibility to its citizens, now its duty is also aims to help other countries reflect and modify their own educational manners. In an attempt to spread this consciousness and entrenching their roles, governments should become more open and critical as addressing educational issues. By doing so, more young people gain experience in more resourceful schools, more professors attempt to pursue higher studies, more parents value moral education and their roles in children, more societies are able to create a safer and more equal environment.



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