Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What is education?

The heavy question that is the title of this post is one I think about often, especially at this end of semester. What is education supposed to be? ('Education' as it has come to mean - schools and universities - I mean, not the education we get from everyday life and/or give ourselves.) What is it for? Everybody assumes we need it, but do we really? Does it really take ten or more institutionalised years to equip a person for the modern world? People who really want to learn will learn anyway, and those that don't won't. Right? And most people just want to watch TV, and most will never use what they learned at school.

Sometimes I suspect that the real purpose of education is that the world needs holding pens for inconveniently immature people.

This thought comes to you incomplete because I am too tired to complete it, and was triggered by the approach of grading season in teacher-land and the appalling realization of just how much my students have learned in my classes this semester. I've been looking at their homework and listening to their 'English conversations' and thinking,

So what was that all about then, eh? What was it all FOR?

Poo. Bah. Humbug. I hereby award myself a day off.

(Which is now coming to an end, and I STILL haven't finished marking the homework.)


Wendy said...

You know what..I'm with you on this. I've just spent the morning marking a bundle of evaluations I've done over the last week and I feel very despondent. It seems that nothing has sunk all. "So what now?", I'm thinking. Do I do repeat lessons to hammer the grammer home, or do I just move on?

At least it's nearly Christmas...most classes finish up next week and then I'll have a 2 week break to think about my strategy!

Wiccachicky said...

Wow - that's a great line. I might steal it and write a post from it. At least here in the States, I have observed over the last few years that college is now some kind of right rather than a privledge. Many of my students simply see it as a logical extension of high school. Not sure what that means culturally...I'll have to think about it.

The Editter said...

yep, it's a holding pen. the policy analysts at the Ministry of Education here pondered over this question (in the context of compulsory schooling) and decided the purpose of school was to allow parents to go to work.

Faerunner said...

I'm still in school, and I can tell you that the view from here is generally very... white and wooly. There goes a flock now!

Sheep... :/ ("Everyone else is going to college, so I'm going too!")