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Thread: What should be the goal of education?

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    Senior Member jar's Avatar
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    Default What should be the goal of education?

    When I was growing up all of life was education, and educating went on night and day, weekday and weekends, 24/7, 365 and even 366 every four years or so.

    School was different; it was a place to help develop socialization and to share limited resources and specialized knowledge.

    The best part about my education and that of my brothers and sisters was that we simply didn't know we were being educated. Learning was just living and living was constantly learning.

    When we were little there was always some quiet time before going to bed when we got to talk about what new things we saw or did each day. Often it was a bug or a plant or an unusual event but each led us into a discussion about a new and different subject that WE discovered. Sometimes Mom or more often Dad would ask us "What happened that day that made us make a choice?" Why did we do something rather than some other thing?

    A favorite rainy day pastime was with an encyclopedia where as we searched through the pages looking for butterflies we came across bears and bears led us to geography of where bears lived and geography led us to history and history led us to changes in where we lived and changes in where we lived led to creation of technology and infrastructure to supply us where we lived and that led to changes in politics which led to changes in social structure which ...

    Serendipity. We learned things we never thought we wanted or needed to learn because the medium exposed us to different pathways. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood ...




    Trips back then were always an adventure. The war had just ended and so things like car tires or spare parts were still scarce and with no Interstate Highways trips meant two lanes and stop lights. But it also meant totally different venues and little towns and the diner that would have a counter with stools so tall I had to help the little kids up and tables where the big folk could sit and talk and a fabulous new Wurlitzer machine with lights and tubes with bubbles and pages and pages of song names and each kid got to pick out a song and the littlest always went first and at the end of the song all the little kids would climb down from the stools and go watch the magic of the arm take the record off the spindle and put it away and then everything turn until it grabbed another record and put it on the turntable and it was always the right song and how did it know which record to pick and ...

    Serendipity. We learned things we never thought we wanted or needed to learn because the medium exposed us to different pathways.

    The best way to learn is when you don't know you are learning.

    The lessons learned way back then were really those that have been the greatest use to me over the years; big looks out for little, knowledge is to be shared and not hoarded, the answers should not be given but help along the path to discovering the answer is essential, everywhere you look, everything you do, is a lesson, mistakes are great, they are how you learn, make as many mistakes as you can but try to only make NEW mistakes.

    The really important lesson was that learning is not hard once you learn how to learn, it's not something difficult and it is fun.

    But today the goal of education, particularly in the US (I can't speak about other countries or cultures) seems totally different. Today the goal seems to be to prepare folk for a job. It is not how to prepare for life or for learning but rather how to become another brick in the wall. It's not "how to learn new stuff" but rather "This is what you need to learn"; not "How to learn" but rather "What to learn". Teachers get fired for teaching material the parents don't want the kids to learn.

    Today, that wandering path through the encyclopedia would never happen, if you type in "butterflies" you go straight to butterflies with no chance to wander off down the bear path.

    That seems to produce a steady stream of workers, automatons, and is good for business. But is that what the goal of education should be for our nation?
    Last edited by jar; March 21st, 2016 at 10:17 AM. Reason: appalin spallin

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Well this is a bit of a divisive point in my social circle...

    On one hand education must enable a person to "function" in society. Certain skill sets could be considered essential to creating a cohesive geo-poli graphic society. Language, history, values; in order to survive these are keystone things that a group of people, a nation, must share. And the complexities of our lives dictated larger and larger groups to perpetuate this paradigm.

    On the other hand I have always held some faith in the proverb about giving a man to fish versus teaching a man to fish. The teachers that I know have felt constrained at times by the limitations of the system and empowered by modern technology and the accessibility of MOST of their students to access the internet. Where possible they elect to undertake the responsibility and tasks to allow their students more freedom to have fun learning; an essay does not have to be on these 3 books - it can be on any book (permission pending).

    Ted(x) talks are prevalent on YouTube. Homeschooling. Education. You will find articles in newspapers, journals, and articles all debating and extolling the virtues of each. Preparatory programs, self guided programs.

    The fact of the matter is, from my perspective, we're just too busy for both. School, which has been cut down to (arguably below) essentials is mandated to prepare citizens for society. As for education I would say that self study is getting easier - wikipedia with its endless links, forums with peer power, online libraries... etc... etc.... Now it is a question of finding the time. And the motivation. And when people can buy fish sticks at the store why bother to learn how to fish, how to make hook, and line, and rod? All you need is a job, to make money...

    So here's my 2 cents, a little gas for the fire. I'm right, and maybe I'm wrong. And perhaps we just need a paradigm shift?

    BCD

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    Senior Member bluesea's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    The U.S. Is finding it more profitable poaching higher level college educated immigrants, than continuing to subsidize that level of education for its citizens as has post WW2. This is the world we live in.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    I can totally appreciate Jar's topic. I was brought up in the 70s UK. My father, though ex-Navy and later a medical scientist was, at heart, an artist. He taught me not just to look at the world but to see it. However, the danger, as I discovered much later, is that this can lead to a kind of dilettantism.

    At school we were largely taught method above fact, although facts were important too.

    Today I am employed as a member of a University staff working mainly on research. Given that I have no tertiary education this may be somewhat surprising to those who are told that they must have a degree to get a job. True I am not pulling in massive paychecks, but I am content doing what I do, and I think I do it well. Interestingly enough my manager hired me on the basis that they considered my inquisitive nature (thanks Dad!) to be a desirable asset for this research position over and above my formal education (such that it is).

    As an aside, in the 90s, working in medical sciences during the advent of subject-specific degrees, it was noticeable how many of the new graduates with their shiny degrees came to work in healthcare without the slightest clue about the working environment, the very real responsibility one has to the patient, how to interact with other adults, or even the fact that they were no longer in the classroom/lab but were now in the real world where protocols reigned and expectations were demanded. Some failed to adapt.

    I always got the feeling that education has narrowed in my lifetime alone. Conversations with my father, and indeed with many of my peers (from the same formative environment), ranged broadly and creatively across many subjects. Today I miss those type of conversations.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    When asked why we learned "useless" subjects like Latin, the headmaster at my last grammar school told us that not go to school to learn how to get a job, but that by being educated we had a better probability of having an enjoyable and fulfilling life. The more you know, the more you are able to appreciate and enjoy life. The more things we would be able to find to understand and appreciate.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrawler View Post
    When asked why we learned "useless" subjects like Latin, the headmaster at my last grammar school told us that not go to school to learn how to get a job, but that by being educated we had a better probability of having an enjoyable and fulfilling life. The more you know, the more you are able to appreciate and enjoy life. The more things we would be able to find to understand and appreciate.


    That reminds of how in college, probably in polsc 101 , we discussed the *eventual* implementation of the 30 hr work week. The future for humanity looked pretty bright back then.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    To make the world a better place and that starts by making your own life better.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Part of the goal of education is to preserve and allow theoretically, the wholesome evolution of the society in which it exists.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?

    Its absolutely essential. Without it you have an out of control Wall Street, Military Industrial Complex, the specter of a Trump presidency etcetera, etcetera.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?

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    Senior Member bluesea's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?

    It seemed society was moving in that direction for a short while.

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    Senior Member jar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?
    That is of course simply an irrelevant comment.

    The question was "In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?"

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Its not necessary to be informed or educated. The government will provide for our needs.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?
    That is of course simply an irrelevant comment.

    The question was "In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?"

    If I had been standing right in front of you I would have made the exact same comment.


    Q: In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?

    A: I don't know. Has it ever happened? If it has, did it make any difference?


    Is that clearer now?

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    Senior Member jar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?
    That is of course simply an irrelevant comment.

    The question was "In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?"

    If I had been standing right in front of you I would have made the exact same comment.


    Q: In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?

    A: I don't know. Has it ever happened? If it has, did it make any difference?


    Is that clearer now?
    Only that the response is still irrelevant.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by TAYLORPUPPY View Post
    Its not necessary to be informed or educated. The government will provide for our needs.
    I believe (and hope) that you are being sarcastic since our government is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people..." People are responsible to be informed and educated in order to better rule ourselves.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    In a democracy, even a representative democracy, how important is it for the voter to be both informed and capable of making critical evidence based decisions?
    Has it ever been the case that voter was thus endowed?
    No, as you can see in our governmental structure. Just look at our election process. Why do we still need Electoral College? Admittedly, an average person of that era were probably not educated nor knowledgeable of worldly affairs enough to make an informed decision but is that so different from how it is now?

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TAYLORPUPPY View Post
    Its not necessary to be informed or educated. The government will provide for our needs.
    I believe (and hope) that you are being sarcastic since our government is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people..." People are responsible to be informed and educated in order to better rule ourselves.

    Sorry I think the situation in the U.S. has progressed far enough, to call that language hopefully poetic and contemporarily quite inaccurate.

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    Default Re: What should be the goal of education?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluesea View Post
    Sorry I think the situation in the U.S. has progressed far enough, to call that language hopefully poetic and contemporarily quite inaccurate.
    Perhaps but we can always strive for the ideal. Honest Abe sure had a way with words.

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