A lot to think about education. In a democratic society, what is education?
Steve Denning’s post on what does it mean to be educated referred to Kohn’s suggestions and critiqued on them:
- To develop the intellect, presumably including linguistic, mathematical and analytic capabilities.
- To produce competent, caring, loving, and lovable people.
- To create and sustain a democratic society
- To invest in producing future workers for the workforce and, ultimately, corporate profits.
I agree with points 1 to 3 on the goals of education . For the investment in producing future workers, there are a few imperatives that we need to think about more deeply, as to why and what that involves in such an investment.
What sort of skills and literacy do we want our future workers to develop and possess? If we don’t even know what future work looks like, would it be too early to come up with a set of skills and literacy that would pre-define what these workers must have?
Steve raises interesting points:
A culture of learning
Like 21st Century management, 21st Century education needs to be different,say Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown in their book, A New Culture of Learning (CreateSpace, 2011). It’s all about collaborative learning, where the teacher is less of a “sage on a stage” who knows all the answers, and more of a “guide on the side”, who encourages the students themselves to ask questions and find the answers from the incredible wealth of resources now instantly available to them on the Web.
Education is also about asking good questions, so as to become a critical thinker with intellectual capability, who could analyse situations, discern fallacies, misguided information, develop options and wisely choose the best option in decision making. It is about living one’s life in full potential and capacity, based on one’s strengths, and the ability to add values to organisation, work and other people, developed through both learning and formal education.
My ideals in education would be to prepare people to develop themselves as creative, critical and autonomous learners, who would challenge themselves to overcome obstacles in life, and solve problems that they are confronted with throughout life. They would make decisions that creates values for themselves and others in the community or society at large.
Here, the purpose of education is to engage with the world, and to prepare ourselves (as learners) to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive. And one of the most important purposes of education is learning how to learn. Learn globally and act locally, and be connected to the international communities.