course reflections

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Finals Week Question #2

December 8, 2005 by Administrator · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

What is education? There are several definitions for education. Education is the profession of teaching. Education is the educating, instructing, or teaching; activities that impart knowledge or skill. The gradual process of acquiring knowledge. According to the Oxford English Dictionary one of the definitions of the word “education” is: “The systematic instruction, schooling or training given to the young in preparation for the work of life; by extension, similar instruction or training obtained in adult age. Also, the whole course of scholastic instruction which a person has received. Often with limiting words denoting the nature of the predominant subject of the instruction or kind of life it prepares, as classical, legal, medical, technical, commercial, art education.” Although this is an accurate description of what an actual education may be, there is a great deal more to the process of becoming educated than the actual instruction and schooling one may receive.

If you asked a person in high school or college exactly why he is in school his response would probably have something to do with “getting an education.” Is that really why he is there? The next question you may ask is “what are you going to do with your education?” The response would undoubtedly include something about “getting a good job” or perhaps “to make a lot of money.” Most of the people in the United States have been brainwashed to think that unless one has at least a high school diploma there is no future anywhere for him. This is completely untrue. There is no guarantee that getting a high school “education” is going to get you anywhere. A student may spend eight years between high school and college getting an “education.” He can graduate from college with A’s in every class, but still, this “education” means nothing. For example, suppose this “Straight A” student goes for a job interview. Obviously one of the first things to be looked at is the college diploma. Good grades, which by today’s standards are an indication of an educated individual, are usually very helpful in getting a good job. But alone, good grades are a completely unfair indication of how a person will perform under the pressures of the real world. Instead of looking at a person’s grades during a job interview and deciding whether that person is eligible for a particular position, why not try something realistic? To determine a particular person’s “education” why not allow the individual to apply what he knows to his position in the workplace. This is the true test of what an education is. The application of knowledge acquired is a much better determinant of true education than whether or not a person got an A in Wood Shop or World History. A good percentage of people in the United States graduated from high school. A smaller percentage of people graduated from college. Are these graduates educated? Knowing when the Civil War began does not make a person “educated.” Where is the real world application of this fact? For someone who is a History major it may prove to be an invaluable nugget of information. For others it will not do them a bit of good anywhere in a lifetime. A high school diploma or a college degree does not necessarily mean that an individual has an understanding of the real world. What it does mean, in fact, is that the holder of the degree or certificate has an understanding of the facts learned in school. Is being able to regurgitate information verbatim considered an education? By the above definition, yes. It will give you a high school or college diploma. But does that really help a person in their life?

 

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