Human Capital and Historical Influences on Education

Family background plays a vital role in determining one’s educational success. The implications of a family to one’s educational achievements are analyzed with a close look at the family’s socioeconomic background. The cultural aspects of the family are considerably determined by its socio-economic background. In the process of growing up and interacting with people in the learning environment, all learners’ behavior and level of value of education are highly dependent on the experiences encountered within the family (Rouse & Barrow, 2006).  Every child’s personality is greatly molded by the family setting along with its socializing influence. The difference in family background is one of the factors that can be used to explain why people’s academic success varies even when they are put in the same learning environment.  Some family backgrounds present restrictions to learners hence having negative implications on one’s performance.

Members of families that realized the value of education in time have more chances to get into the education system and adapt to the restrictive nature of learning environments. Some families play little role in shaping the behavior of their children to value education as a basic requirement for a successful life. Parents in some families failed to get an opportunity to pursue further education due to poor socio-economic background while others expended much effort to get access to education in their early days. There is no doubt that past experience is vital in determining future actions. After addressing several problems that posed a challenge to attainment of proper education, my parents helped me face a different situation in my learning process. Along with the massive support that comes from the parents, the society has also realized the remarkable growth in terms of infrastructural development. Several changes have taken place hence moving education to a new line. Parents are determined to ensure that their children access the best kind of education in the best educational institution. The target is to ensure that children enjoy their learning process while taking advantage of societal changes. This discussion is aimed at highlighting how family history can impact one’s educational success.

The role of motivation in education is undoubted. Families that are fully aware of the essence of education make efforts to ensure that their children are motivated. The concept of motivation is often misunderstood. Some people consider motivation to be limited to issuance of financial presents to children when they display exemplary performance. However, in my case, the best motivation that I had was in the provision of a chance to undertake my studies. After growing from a low class family where my parents hardly had time to study, my parents have invested in me hoping that I will benefit from education and appreciate the opportunity that they offered to me.  In an interview with my father, I came to realize that he had interest in education but was unable to pursue his education to the level of his interest due to financial difficulties. He had to leave the school in order to fulfill his responsibilities for the family and attend to the basic needs of the house. He stated that several changes have occurred in the field of education that makes the system more effective than in the earlier days. He said, “You have advantage of modern technologies that offer you an opportunity to study and access a wide range of reading materials at the click of the button”. This statement relates to the technological advancements that have largely improved learning experience. The emergence of computer technology has made it possible for one to learn irrespective of his or her geographic location. One does not need to be physically present in a lecture hall. The new technologies have a great motivation effect on learners (Rouse & Barrow, 2006). I find it highly convenient to have a soft copy of all lecture notes on my desk top so that I can look through them once I need to. This is different from a situation where all lecture notes had to be hand copied for future reference. Technology motivates learners so that currently, boredom that used to be an integral part of the learning process in past has become history.

Responding to my question about the role of technology in provision of motivation for learners and improving the overall learning process, my father said, “Learners find technology to be fun and interesting. It offers instructors a new way, by which they can prepare learners, so that they come out strong to contribute to economic development”. The statement signaled that there was a shift from the earlier mode of teaching to the current one that involves the application of technology. The response that my father gave about the role of technology in the learning process confirms the fact that technology makes the learning process more interesting and effective. He laid special emphasis on the fact that he made particular consideration when making a choice about the right learning institution for me. He said, “It is always important to have your child achieve what you wished to achieve but failed due to unavoidable circumstance”. In this statement, my father implied that he had interest in education but was restricted by some factors that were beyond his control. Particularly, my family’s belonging to the low class in the society presented much pressure with respect to accessibility of basic needs and essential services. My father likes attributing our family’s current status to the fact that he missed the opportunity to further his studies. He always insists on the ‘beauty’ of education stating that good education unlocks problems that people face. “It is through education that you can freely interact with people irrespective of your social status. It makes one a valuable member of the society who can actively participate in economic development”, he said.

Alongside the changes that have occurred in the education system over time, it is clear that the family contributes to effective learning and success in attaining education by provision of educational upbringing (Rouse & Barrow, 2006). I always benefited from the pieces of advice that were given by my family members from time to time. I looked at my father as my role model despite the fact that he did not achieve much in terms of his level of education. The family is the first source of inspiration that should always guide children towards the right direction to find their place in the society. The family helps children in the choice of the career that they are best suited for. Most of my friends who left school were either from broken homes or from wiring polygamous families. They did not have a strong family background to help them determine to continue with their studies. This was also the case with my father, which had multiplied the challenges that made it difficult for him tom achieve the desired level of education. He said, “I always looked up to my father for direction and guidance about everything. Your Grandfather was firm on the importance of education and could overstretch his limits to ensure that we got to school despite financial challenges. My educational life got doomed after he got involved in an accident and succumbed to a head injury.” This statement clearly shows the challenge that one can encounter after losing a family member who is considered as a role model. Parents who show interest in what their children do at school and who are determined to provide their children with necessary finances and books give their children advantage over those children whose parents are reluctant or unable to support their education. The difference in the level of support that children enjoy from their families is reflected in their performance (Williams College, 2012). In our class, one can hardly witness a situation where low class students outshine the upper class students. because the reason for this is the fact that upper class students are well equipped within necessary learning materials that give them advantage over low class students.

My family’s economic position highly affected my educational background. My family’s lack of a stable source of income to sustain my education and fill other family needs made me suffer from emotional and psychological traumas, which reflected in my results in the early classes. However, the past situations increased my motivation as I realized that it is through education that I can get my family out of the situation. I always appreciated the support that my family gave me and understood that my parents offered their best to me within their limited abilities. I always worked hard to ensure that I do not disappoint my family as I learned that the best reward to offer my parents is to display an exemplary performance that could give them hopes in me and assure them of a better future. To some extent, I believe that my poor background contributed to my determination to work hard and change the financial condition of my family. Of course, parents mainly support their children so that they become self reliant and not focus on the need for the children to help them in future. However, I always believed that taking advantage of the support that my family offered to me would enable me to change the condition of the family once I get an opportunity to be a valuable collaborator in the job market.

My attitude towards education was shaped by the stimuli that were offered to me by the environment, in which I grew up. In this case, I use the term stimuli to refer to the nature of my family and parental social orientation. Essentially, my supportive family has largely contributed to my determination to further my education. Growing up with parents who valued education, I was nurtured into a dedicated student who is determined to learn and transform the family. I have always believed that there are several opportunities for higher education that I need to exploit.

Considering the circumstances, under which my parents learned, it is clear that they significantly differ from the current opportunities. The educational expectation was also different owing to the circumstances, under which the early education system was organized. In past times, the early education system did not employ the use of technology to the extent that it is currently used. The learning process mainly involved the physical presence of the instructor who would give instructions in class, give assignments in class and conduct assessments in class. This is no longer the case due to the current technological advancements. There have been numerous transformations in the learning process starting from the invention of the printing press to the use of blackboards and laptops for the purposes of education (Williams College, 2012). The involvement of computers in the learning process is a complete shift from the earlier educational system that was highly reliant on the physical presence of learners and instructors. Currently, learning is student based hence giving learners autonomy in the learning process. Learners do not need to wait for instructors to give them instructions on what to do. For example, second language and foreign language learners can use the electronic version of the dictionary and other language software to learn on their own. The current education system requires self-sufficiency among learners as technology facilitated the learning process. Worldwide extension of information communication technologies has resulted to a focus on adoption of the modern technology in advancing education.

To conclude, it is theoretically believed that if everyone irrespective of the social status can be given an opportunity to gain the same benefits from higher education, family background should not have any implication on educational attainment. Practically, the number of years that learners take to attain their education and the educational achievements that they gain over the years differ with respect to the learners’ family backgrounds. The main factor that impacts on children’s educational attainment is their parents’ socioeconomic status. The reason for this is the fact that learners who enjoy much financial support from their families are better placed in regard to access to learning materials as opposed to those from poor backgrounds. They are more motivated to work hard as they have parents who are willing to give them direction and act as role models for them. On the other hand, learners from low income families are not favored by their family background. They lack financial support to access essential learning materials and may lack a source of inspiration in the family. However, there are instances where poor or rich family backgrounds are of no importance. One can realize the need to work hard and change his or her situation. With little support, a learner can attain great heights of excellence. Technological advancements have also facilitated education and created several changes to the education system. Currently, most learning environments have been transformed from teacher centered to learner centered where learners enjoy autonomy in the learning process.

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