Education Evolution Re-defining Educational Process
The traditional view of our defined understanding of what education is and how we perceive it is changing. Online learning opportunities like ed2go where you can learn just about anything, Pimsleur where you can learn a new language, and grammar apps are changing the way we learn. When it comes to children, educator resources like ABCmouse, Hooked on Phonics, and Reading Eggs are having an impact on the way kids learn today. Education is going through an evolutionary change.
Some would say the failure of deeply entrenched traditional educators adapting to this change is crippling education. Preparing today’s college freshmen for the writing challenges they will face on the collegiate level isn’t happening!
I’m not attempting to change your own perspective on what education should or shouldn’t be. Aside from the fact that I posses a Bachelor of Arts Degree obtained from an on-campus university and presently closing in on a Bachelor of Science Degree through an on-line program, I’m not “certified” in the formal sense to be qualified at attempting such a thing. This brief article is simply to highlight the discussion at hand.
When I was pursuing my first Bachelor’s Degree, I quickly came to realize that education was all about developing the knowledge of how to research knowledge, how to find the information I was lacking, and develop the skill necessary for what I was preparing to do with this new-found knowledge.
Be it gardening, managing a business, helping the sick, flying an airplane, or writing a blog (if not a book), education isn’t about stuffing facts into your brain or memorizing the letter of the law, as happens through rote learning, the backbone of traditional education. The lowest and least productive form of learning and what happens to be the prevailing method. But that seems to be changing.
The traditional definition goes something like this; “education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the power of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.” Or “the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession”1 .
We would all agree that education is a learning process and we assume it comes to us through a set program or “instruction” from an “educator” specializing in the field of educating others that qualifies them to do so through a study in, say, social science/education, the study of the theory of teaching and learning2 . And round-and-round we go! So, really, what is education? Is it something we find in the word itself, a definition that was shaped by those who “teach” in the traditional sense of the word, yet really don’t understand the “essence”, the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual feature or features3 of education? It’s a question not easily answered, a quality not easily found.
My wife works in the “formal” educational public schools environment with children who have “special” needs. Kids who are unable to learn or be educated in the traditional sense of the word. Most of whom are categorized as English Slow Learners, or kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Teaching Students With ADHD, ESL, or teaching students with any learning disability for that matter, is changing for a variety of reasons. All of which can be underscored!
Each of her students is given a one-to-one relationship to education: one student to one educator. It has to be this way because of the learning disorders of one kind or another. One thing is certain: they each get an education, meaning, not only does the teacher teach the student, but the student educates the educator…in matters of life, from the student’s perspective.
These kids will never meet any high standard recognized in the world of academia. But none the less, they are experiencing education. More likely on a scale far superior than will ever be recognized by the more fortunate. From my perspective, education is about problem solving, self-efficiency, developing a healthy self-esteem and sense of well-being. Education is developing the capacity to be creative in situations that seem non-conforming to the expected outcome, to be able to “improvise” as needed.
Recently I came across a great article titled Definition of Education in which the author clarifies some of the confusion about what “education” is or at least how it’s perceived. He states:
“What truly makes a person educated is that they are able to perceive accurately, think clearly, and act effectively according to self-defined goals and aspirations.”4
If there is anything that hits the issue square between the eyes, it’s this one! And yet there are those, even among students themselves, who choose to plod along in life, conformed to the “things are the way they are” syndrome, not waking up to what it means to be an “educated” person. Once again, on that note, I would bring you back to the before mentioned source written by Don Berg, founder of Attitutor Services:
It is true that the educated person needs information, but an educated person is not dependent on the information they have stored in their heads, because they have the ability to find information, create knowledge, and develop skills when necessary4.
In the end, education is securing the ability to function in life. It’s not necessarily the diploma or credentials hanging on your wall. There are too many stories to tell about people who have accomplished great things who didn’t complete a formal education curriculum. Some would disagree, but that’s just me.
 Definition of Education, by Don Berg, Founder, Attitutor Services