Most of a student's time is spent in a classroom. This is where 10 to 30 people sit to take part in educational discussion. In the United States, the average number of students per classroom in primary schools is 23.1.
The term "school" is used for many educational environments – particularly in North America. In North America, a person taking a first degree at a university is often self-described as "going to school". In Europe that would never be the case. They would describe themselves as "going to university". The style of university education can be so different between countries.
In many places around the world, children must go to school for a certain number of years. Learning may take place in the classroom, in outside environments, or on visits to other places. Colleges and universities are places to learn for students over 17 or 18 years of age. Vocational schools teach skills people need for jobs.
Some people attend school longer than others. This is because some jobs require more training than others, like for example becoming a doctor takes about 10-14 years of education. For young children, one teacher may teach all subjects. Teachers for older students are more specialized, and they only teach a few subjects. Common subjects taught include science, arts such as music, humanities, like geography and history, and languages.
Children with mental health problems, and problems such as autism and other conditions, usually do not go to regular schools. These children are given other ways to get schooling, like special schools. There also are special schools which teach things which regular schools do not.
Schools for boys and schools for girls change
Education for all is quite modern. In England, for example, most men could not read or write, even early in the 19th century. We know this because when they got married, those who could not write put an 'X' on the certificate, and someone else wrote down their name. At the time, most women could write, because they stayed at home. Widespread education for reading and writing began in the 19th century.
In most countries, boys were taught differently to girls, and separately from girls. Today, most countries have schools which accept both boys and girls, though some places still have separate schools for girls. Some parents believe that girls do better in single-sex schools.
School as a place to learn for life change
In many parts of the world, schools also help children learn things about life.
- In school, pupils develop their personality.
- Schools teach pupils about religion and ethics.
- Schools help children recognise socially accepted norms and behaviour.
Pedagogy is the science of teaching children. Different schools use different ways of teaching. There is quite a lot of disagreement about what and how students should be taught. Many countries solve this by allowing different types of schools, so parents and children have some choice. Choices may include home education, which is a controversial idea. Few people do this. Even in pre-modern times, most children were taught in groups. Age grouping is also ancient. It was done in many African tribes for a long time before the present.
Comprehensive schools change
A British term which means roughly "a secondary school for all children in a particular neighbourhood". It includes the idea of taking both boys and girls in one school, and the idea of taking children of all abilities. In practice it has many of the problems which are endemic in American high schools. Among its main faults are said to be: putting girls and boys together at the sensitive time of puberty, and the behavioural problems associated with having such a wide range of young people in a large school. Evidence for lowered standards for examinations are disputed, but widely believed to be true.
Boarding school change
Boarding schools are schools where children are sent to live on a school campus without their parents. They are expensive, and so are chosen by parents with means. They are not for the average family. They are usually elite schools with the best teachers that money can buy. Children may even be sent to another country. Switzerland is one of the favoured countries. On the other hand, most Western countries have first-rate boarding schools. In England, many public schools are boarding schools. The term "public school" here has a special meaning: it really means "private school".
Some benefits of boarding schools are that students may develop skills for working with their peers. But there are other effects: The poet Robert Graves explains:
"Preparatory schoolboys live in a world completely dissociated from home life. They have a different vocabulary, a different moral system, even different voices. On their return to school from the holidays the change-over from home-self to school-self is almost instantaneous, whereas the reverse process takes a fortnight at least. A preparatory schoolboy, when caught off his guard, will call his mother 'Please, matron,' and always addresses any male relative or friend of the family as 'Sir', like a master. I used to do it".
- Rampell, Catherine (2009-09-11). "Class size around the world". Economix Blog. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
- In some countries they are also informally called "schools".
- "How long does it take to become a doctor?". Indeed Career Guide. Archived from the original on 2020-12-05. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
- Woodhead, Chris 2002. Class war: the state of British education. London: Little Brown. ISBN 0-316-85997-4 The author was a former chief inspector of schools.
- Graves, Robert 1967. Goodbye to All That, chapter 3, page 24 Penguin Modern Classics.
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