Selasa, 02 November 2010

What is education?

Schooling is is future-oriented - it is about development & growth even when they are studying the past. Thus, as educators, the aspect of thinking they have a twisted to focus on is learning. As they have stressed, much thinking is commonplace - it goes on on a regular basis, often without our being aware of it. Schooling takes us in to the conscious world. It involves activities that are intended to stimulate thinking, to foster learning. They set out to help another person to learn, or to learn something ourselves (a method of self-education). Both can happen simultaneously. They learn as they teach. In conversation they learn about people & communities & also learn the craft of casual schooling.

Purpose. Sometimes, such as when teaching in a classroom, they may have a detailed idea about what they are trying to accomplish. They might even have written down a lesson plan with some objectives. They may have a script & a syllabus - they know there is positive things about which they must speak & things they require to teach. However, plenty of the time they may not have such a clear idea of where things are headed. All they have is a picture of the general direction that they require to go in. However, they set out to foster learning - & this purpose is a key characteristic of schooling.

Surroundings. John Dewey made the point that they are unable to plug directly in to another person's brain. ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½We seldom educate directly, but indirectly by means of the environment���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½. They continued, ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Whether they permit chance environments to do the work, or whether they design environments for the purpose makes a great difference���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½. The physical surroundings - the shape of the room, the way chairs are laid out, lighting & heating will influence the way they feel & think about the activities they are engaged in. In turn, our social relationships will affect the way they view these things.

Dedication. Educators do not act in a value free way. In our view, for something to be called 'education', whether it takes place in the classroom or the canteen, it must be informed by positive values. There is a dividing line between schooling & indoctrination. Schooling, unlike the latter, embraces a dedication to:

 * Respect for persons.
 * The promotion of well-being.
 * Truth.
 * Democracy.
 * Fairness & equality.

These values ought to tell both the content of conversations & encounters, as well as our behaviour & relationships as educators. Julius Nyerere times summed these concerns up when they talked of the purpose of schooling as being the liberation of humans from the restraints & limitations of ignorance & dependency. Nothing else can be properly called schooling. Teaching which induces a slave mentality or a sense of impotence is not schooling at all - it is an assault on the minds of men.

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