Education: Some thoughts on education

What do you think of when you hear the word “education?”  School, textbooks, university, degree…  You know me, I Google whatever I’m writing about and the first result which came up was Wikipedia.  I know, I know, some of you (especially those in the field of education) discount Wikipedia, but I like to read what they have to say and more often than not, I feel that their pages have facts, plain and simple, or opinions that have a common sense approach.  I appreciate common sense.  It is often seriously lacking in today’s society.

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Back to education; Wikipedia states that “Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledgeskills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research.”  They go on to say that “education frequently takes place under the guidance of others, but may also be autodidactic.”  I really like that.  Notice how they haven’t yet mentioned the word “school?”

Sure schools are a widely used method of attaining an education, but they are not the only way.  They are not even the only part of a person’s education when they do go to school.  A person’s home, parents, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, even strangers provide avenues of learning.  Humans are naturally curious and we are learning all the time.  It is sad when a child’s curiosity is dampened because of all the structure being forced upon him through compulsory education.

People are not the only influences on an education.  One’s surrounding, environment, every place one visits, sights one sees, smells incurred, sounds heard, textures touched are learned and stored in the brain.  The more one plays outside, visits museums, shops with a parent, listens to stories or books or poems, meets people from outside his culture, the more one learns.  When a child goes with a parent to work he sees the adults engaging in conversation outside of what he may normally hear at home.  All these experiences provide stimuli which can lead to self directed learning.

Just this morning, I read on a blog I follow, a post about a child’s choice of library books.  The book was in comic book form and it was about Greek Myths and Legends.  I bet this child has already been exposed to Greek mythology at home and here he was intrigued by it (and the scary looking monster on the cover) and wanting on his own to read more about it.  That’s fabulous!

There is nothing wrong with schools, as long as they are safe and they are not damaging the innate curiosity of a child and the child is not a victim of bullying and the teachers love and inspire learning.  I am not against schools; I just think the younger grades should be totally optional and incorporate more learning from play.

These are just my thoughts and opinions.  I think I have a nice balance of common sense and book sense.  You, of course, are entitled to your own opinions and I’d love to hear them.

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