Thursday, May 24, 2012

Goals of Education

What should be the goals of education?

While a college student, I visited Tastee Donuts frequently. I went there to read, eat donuts, and drink coffee. I continued this tradition after college. After graduation, I became a middle school teacher not far from the university I attended. One evening I was grading papers at Tastee Donuts and the grades were quite depressing. The owner's wife told me why wasn't I learning my students. She might not have used this incorrect word, but I felt that is what she was telling me. Her picture of education was that you poured knowlege into the students head.

William J. O'Malley in his book, Help My Unbelief, provides another perspective on the goals of education. He believes that one of the goals of education is to be able to form opinion beyond reasonable doubt. He offers four steps in accomplishing this goal. First you see what is out there. You gather the evidence. Second you evaluate and categorized the evidence. Third you organize the evidence or outline it. The last step you "formulate a temporarily satisfactory conclusion---one's own personally validated opinion, which remains open to revision' (10-11). He also says if you are wise, you will offer your ideas to someone you trust for a critique.

My education perspective is more in line with O'Malley. The goal of education should equip the student to not need the teacher any longer. This is the goal of a liberal arts education. To provide the tools of learning so the student will be able to learn on his own. The teacher is like a mid-wife to help give birth to the learner.

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