Education in the shadow of a pandemic

The prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic has impacted lots of wide range fields on different aspects in everyday life. From the affection of the viruses on the financial economy, to the transportation and airline industry and tourism, to the smallest aspect of our life, such as food retailers. School and educational institutions were highly impacted by the pandemic. Shifted instructions were received from the authorities to apply a remote, online distance education (E-Learning). Lots of inquiries from the students and their families were not adaptive to this new circumstance they had found themselves into it. As school and education plays a big role in everyone’s efficiency, and their future role and responsibility in the society, it becomes a citizen’s duty to make the most of the advantages of this circumstance, for the sake of the greater good, and for the individual benefits. The new approach towards online learning, and it’s efficiency is still debated till that moment, but was that situation we had ran into it is quite new, or was that always the normal state of things, and how that effect the overall end result and efficiency of education.

Plato, The Republic of Plato – 375 BC

Plato is one of the greatest Greek philosophers who has covered a number of different topics in a number of his books, including education. In his book The Republic, he tried to establish a kind of systematic structure to his ideal state and city by introducing a number of topics to whom who will be responsible for governing the state. The topics vary from justice, women in the republic, the cave analogy, and most important; guardians’ education, for whom will be responsible for protecting the gates of their states, and such they were supposed to establish a different moral and believes. Plato’s guardians were supposed to be well educated by art, music, and poetry. They are supposed to be strong and well powered, but also gentle to their people.

Ibn Tufail, The Journey of the Soul: The Story of Hai Bin Yaqzan – 1671

The Story of Hai Bin Yaqzan is far one of the most famous works of fiction in Arabic literature. Along with its impact on western and English literature, especially Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. This novel means to teach a wild child (Hai Bin Yaqzan) who has found himself free of any kind of family tree, with no parents or family members what’s so ever. During the novel, Hai Bin Yaqzan is trying to figure out the morals lessons, and learning more about nature, life, death, and religion from interacting with the pure nature of things, and by coming up with his interpretation towards things. Ibn Tufail seems to adopt the philosophy of which that human’s understanding can reach the truth of things through some form of pure meditation and deep thinking about the state of things, without much of interacting with an encouraging environment or trying to sharpen one’s mental skills and mental capacities.

John Locke, on the Conduct of the Understanding. an Essay Concerning Human Understanding – 1689

Unlike Aristotle who thinks that all human nature is naturally stored in one’s mind, and it only requires an external catalyst to gain this knowledge. Locke’s philosophy on Human Understanding is mainly about the fact that our capacities are developed and our characters formed in response to our environment, and there’s no such thing as innate speculative principles.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education – 1762

Emile, Or Treatise on Education, is mostly discussing the journey of educating a young child by taking him into the wild nature, and the concepts of teaching through the exploitation of natural curiosity, practical applications, and which was mostly inspired by Robinson Crusoe. Rousseau’s interpretation on women that they are by nature inferior to men, with respect to these capacities that ground equality — namely reason, independence, and virtue, was highly a subject of debate and was defending later on by the Enlightenment philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – 1792

Mary’s main interpretation and method which she follows in her book was mostly focused on exposing the arbitrary nature of patriarchal power is via a critique-of Rousseau’s arguments against women’s claims to equality. Mary highly believes in the importance of education, in a time school and equal education wasn’t established yet. She disagrees with Rousseau’s on taking a child into the desert to teach him, but she rather talked about the importance of national education for evolving children’s social skills and affections to each other. Along with her interpretation of national education, she also talked about the importance of private education, in which the individual differences between students can be respected, worked on, and improved.

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, Penguin Classics – 1848

Karl Marx stands for free education for children, yet he talked about the traditional schools as being controlled by such a capitalist authority. The pure purpose of education should be teaching people not feeding them with facts. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – 1990

The Croatian researcher Csikszentmihalyi has covered in his book many concepts about our neuroscientist and neurology behaviors as humans. Mihaly has covered a number of our behavior, about starting and finishing tasks, including the distraction of sensation and technologies. As we are easily distracted by technologies, it causes attention residue to the brain, which reduces our efficacy of finishing works.  

Philip Adey, Bad Education: Debunking Myths in Education – 2012

A number of researches from The Open University has covered a number of topics and myths about education, including the efficiency of traditional education compared to self-education. In comparison to its end result, and the efficiency, and other factors as well. Self-education seems to be more efficient than traditional once, although it might require a great deal of self-discipline, that most profound through traditional education, due to the deadlines, and the strict academic calendar.

Ibrahim al-Sakran, Al-Mujaryat, Dar Al-Hadarah – 2015

There are huge effects of technology on the human mind, one of which is terminally known as the “data addiction”, as Ibrahim intruded on his book. One of the causes of “data addiction” is so far caused by the characteristics of the Internet and networks, and its tremendous amounts of sequence of the short materials presented. This leads the user or the students in our case to try to escape the academic pressure using networks, as a way of psychological defense mechanism.

Adrian F. Ward, Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity, The University of Chicago – 2017

A study published by the University of Austin Texas in 2017 showed the results of the scientists who presented tests to measure the level of concentration and to know and measure the ability to process and store information for a sample of students. The scientists asked that group of students to place their phones on an upside-down table so that they did not see the screen, or in their pocket, or in another room far from them. The data showed that the worst results were from the category that placed their phone on the table, followed by the category that put their phones in the pocket and finally those whose phones were in other rooms. The study showed that even with the phone switched off, it has the ability to drain and distract focus and attention.

Objective personalityType in education

Dave & Shane, are the founder of a new approach towards understanding Carl Jung’s theories of cognitive functions. They developed new terms and measurements, and statical analytical data to spot and define a number of cognitive functions. Their insights and overviews towards educational systems come to define it as (Te-Si), which means that the educational system seems to be focusing on certain end result, goals, and tasks, which refers to the natural state of the Extrovert Thinking, as a cognitive function, according to to the Jungian model. Those tasks, goals, and objects are required to be achieved within certain criteria, methods, within certain time limits, and set space and time, and that refers to the Introvert Sensing (Si), as a cognitive function.

Dave & Shane then come to define and name a number of the struggles that students might face, dealing with the educational system, due to the individual differences. And although educational systems never seem to support all kinds of different learners styles, it becomes a personal responsibility to the learner to adjustive to the educational system, along with the responsibility on the educational system, to constantly working on evolving itself.

Although a number of students might do well at school, school generally would not provide them much of a helpful approach towards the real-life problems, nor the skills of memorizing and achieving tasks within certain criteria, are quite in handy, nor will it adjustive students to the upcoming nature of things in the feature.

Regardless of the concerns about the efficiency of the educational system, school seems to work on establishing a kind of discipline, and structural phenomena towards breaking long terms goals; such as finishing high school, for example, within developing certain skills of problem-solving through building a logical approach towards things, and so on, to more of a “block of time”, and certain schedule units of working and making an effort, through a certain period of time.


The momentum of the traditional, face to face learning environment has been taken from us during the pandemic, but if the pandemic has taught us anything which is related to our learning styles, and our approach towards learning mechanisms, that the power of consuming knowledge is set inward, and it’s in our hands, not outside ourselves. If the pandemic came to teach us something, it will be the fact that we had been given a great opportunity to a form of self-exploration towards testing one’s discipline, and motives and encouragement of learning, without such an external pressure or the end result of the academic institution. It will be a life lesson towards one’s management of time, space, and effect of technology, and the set, and the atmosphere that one’s create for themselves in order to learn efficiency. It will be us, appreciating our individuality and our approach towards learning things, without a higher hand. It will be a sense of responsibility that has been evolved.

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