Etymology: Scoliosis of the English Language
A school is an educational establishment designed to offer learning places and learning environments specifically for the education of students. Most developed countries have systems of compulsory formal education, which in some cases is totally mandatory. In such instances, students progress from a series of elementary schools to primary and secondary schools. At primary level, children receive instruction in reading, writing, math and science. They also learn other social-emotional aspects of education during this stage. Secondary school offers instruction in reading, writing, math and science; students go through more specialized training in subjects such as English, history and geography.
The number of secondary schools varies according to the jurisdiction in which they operate. In most jurisdictions, both primary and secondary schools offer some form of social-emotional training to students, as well as practical lessons in reading, writing and math. Students who wish to pursue a career in these fields may enter a vocational or technical school, where they complete courses in their specialized area of study. Some vocational and technical schools also offer higher education opportunities for students, who wish to further their educations with a diploma or degree.
Some schools, on the other hand, are made up of several levels of instruction. For example, in a daycare center, daycare staff are trained to perform specific job functions. Nurses assist in providing direct instruction to daycare children, while teachers give students instruction in a prescribed curriculum. In a university or college, faculties and scholars conduct taught classes on various topics, such as philosophy, history, mathematics, science, and other applied sciences. Students, who are enrolled in these classes, receive formal instruction in the specified subject matter, either in the form of lectures or lecture and discussions, or through directives on specific written materials and lessons.
A school, then, is a place in which lessons are taught either formally or informally. Formal education involves a structured curriculum and lessons, which are usually directed by a qualified teacher or an authorized head of department. Informal education is most often carried out at the pupils own pace and at home. This type of education is informal and relies on common social skills such as games, crafts, simple conversation, and the like. Often, this type of school teaches a wider variety of subjects than a formal institution would.
In United States, the Department of Education has defined some common doctrines, such as, “the teaching of standard grammar, spelling, reading, writing, and teaching the common doctrine of academic responsibility” and “a fair and effective method of imparting knowledge, especially scientific knowledge.” In practice, however, the Department of Education has not been successful in defining what constitutes formal and informal instruction in higher education institutions. There is some concern that disputable practices such as dress codes, micro-stakes, testing, grading, and even test-taking may constitute illegal interference with the rights of the students and of the teachers within the public school system.
It is the common doctrine of higher education that instruction must be both systematic and uniform. The present trends in educational theory and methodology have moved much closer to a networked learning approach, which emphasizes cross-functional contact between students within and across domains of instructions (e.g., classroom, office, laboratory, and field) rather than the static teacher-student relationship. The emerging theory of distributed learning is concerned with the ways in which people learn from their environments, rather than just classroom or school instruction. The distributed learning approach, therefore, should be understood to encompass the interdependence of the instructional variables as well as the various modes of distribution, and be grounded on models of learning that are multimodal in nature.