WHAT IS TEACHING ABOUT?
Lots of people say that education is about learning skills that will help students find employment- such as using a word processor or spread sheet. Yet what about helping people to figure out the meaning of life? Or becoming good people? Or making a difference to others? Is this also the purpose of education? Some people think its is; Martin Luther King said ‘’we must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.’’ One wonders what King meant by ‘character’. Does he mean being a good citizen? Some government polices state that the aim of education is to produce good citizens. One wonders what they mean by ‘good citizens’. Of course it is in the interest of the government to have law-abiding members of community; it makes their job easier. Some people may quote the famous saying ‘’the end justifies the means’’ and economically it makes sense for nations to invest in education of children in order to produce adults that benefit society, especially economically. But is this really the aim of education, to reap benefits? A society benefits from producing educated adults that are socially aware and well equipped to help others in the society; but is this the whole intent of education? Having read a little about the philosophy of education, I have come to the conclusion that the purpose of education is multifaceted. I have compiled a list of the aims of educating: - Teaching skills to find work. - Enabling pupils to be materially successful. - Enabling people to be useful to society. - Producing pupils that will make a difference to others. - Teaching pupils how they should live their lives (ethics/moral choices) - Making them aware of cause and consequences. - Teaching the values of a society. - Helping people to figure out the meaning of life. Should we be teaching Ethics in schools? Maybe it is essential for a pupil to understand his place in society and how he could be useful to it? Arguably, the pupil’s happiness might depend on this, not just society’s well-being. Human-beings, after all, are social beings. The true purpose of education should be to educate the whole child, so as not to just have academic success but to have success in all aspects of their lives. Education must nurture not just the social person but also the individual, and at a deeper level, education should be a way of helping a person to discover more about himself, as well as the world which he is living in. We need to teach people to be aware of their own thoughts, as well as the way life is viewed by other people; teach them rather how to think rather than what to think; so that they can think for themselves while being aware of the thoughts of other men. The learning process never ends and the teacher’s aim is to teach people how to teach themselves. Ultimately, we should equip them so that they can continue with their quest for the meaning of life.