From Dawn till Dusk – Games and life

Musings on ICT, handhelds and life

purpos/ed – What is the purpose of Education?

March1

purposed-badgeFor those reading this, the purpose of education will differ for us all in many ways.  My view on the purpose of education has changed over the years as I have become a teacher, governor and most importantly a parent with two children in the education ‘system’.

Does one size fit all? Should we be moving to personalize the learning for our children enabling them to explore, to be creative and to fail.  I want my children both my own and the children in my class to fail and to be able to learn from these failures in order to move forward and to gain a deeper understanding. Children are naturally curious and I feel we need to find a way to prolong and develop this natural curiosity to enable them to develop a desire, a need and a love for learning that lasts beyond the traditional education system.

Education should not be just be about the ‘system’ or the schools, it should be about the community and drawing on the skills and knowledge that is within our local communities.  Enabling our children to learn from what has gone before to ensure that they enhance their own future. For many education provides an escape, a way out that broadens their horizons and provides them with opportunities that they did not realize existed, that can ultimately provide them with richness and most importantly happiness.

I want my children to be happy at school, to be resilient, to be able to persevere, to be aware of the feelings and needs of others and an appreciation of themselves within the world. Our current formal education system does not always take into account these factors, there is no GCSE in happiness or resilience but these are personal skills that will serve them well in the world.

My children have a range of information at their fingertips, they also need to be educated how to process this information in its myriad forms, to understand the sometimes complex nature of social media and to use this to enable them to move their education and their learning forward.  Education needs to change, to move on with the change in technologies, to recognize the skills that our children are using at home, when playing games, surfing the net, e mailing and using a range of apps. Quite often children within my class and my own two want to take on this learning themselves, as it both engages them and is of interest.

The same is true for books, music, languages, arts – it about engaging the children in the learning process, and opening their eyes to possibilities that lie ahead.  If we look back at the etymological meaning of the word, education is derived form the educare (Latin) bring up which is related to educere ‘bring out’, ‘bring forth what is within’, ‘bring out potential’. This for me should be the purpose of education.

by posted under Uncategorized | 6 Comments »    
6 Comments to

“purpos/ed – What is the purpose of Education?”

  1. March 1st, 2011 at 8:29 am       Doug Belshaw Says:

    Thanks, Dawn! Two important points leap out at me from your #500words:

    1. The importance of allowing children to ‘fail’ (although not, obviously, spectacularly crash and burn!)

    2. There being no GCSE in Happiness and Resilience. Unfortunately we measure what can be measured and think that’s all there is to it.

    I’d love to see, as you insinuated, communities holding schools to account. I think *then* we’d get less emphasis on the kind of ‘learning’ that can be easily put into league tables.


  2. March 1st, 2011 at 11:32 am       Nicky Newbury Says:

    On reading your post, I was vividly reminded of the excellent Michael Morpurgo ‘Richard Dimbleby’ Lecture which echo yours and mine thoughts. Morpurgo spoke passionately (as you have done) about,

    ‘At the heart of every child, new born, is a unique genius and personality. What we should be doing is to allow the spark of that genius to catch fire, burn brightly and shine. What we seem to be doing with so many of our children is to corral them, to construct a world where success and failure is all that counts. Fear of failure is what does the most damage.’

    Along with your observation of there not being a GCSE for happiness and resilience, I beleive that these formative years are crucial to children being able to not only forge relationships but to sustain them. Perhaps our profession is more (or should be) about ‘enabling’ children with the skills they need rather ‘teaching’ them?

    Morpurgo also mentioned that,
    ‘In those critical moments their decisions, the choices they take, rely so much on the relationships they made when they are young – with their parents and their teachers – on their self worth and self confidence – and there is no league table for relationships.’

    I enjoyed reading your post and which then made me take the time to reflect on my own thoughts – thank you!


  3. March 1st, 2011 at 5:01 pm       Daniel Needlestone Says:

    I haven’t really got a comment except “yes I agree”
    Good post!


  4. March 1st, 2011 at 7:04 pm       Gill DeCosemo Says:

    As a teacher and a parent I couldn’t agree more. Happiness, resilience and the deep feeling of self worth that comes from contributing to your own and others learning are so important. Your statement “It is about engaging the children in the learning process and opening their eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead” shows that education is a collaboration, not something that is ‘done’ to the student.
    Well said Dawn!


  5. March 1st, 2011 at 9:50 pm       Richard Anderson Says:

    A very thoughtful post, Dawn. Thank you for sharing it.

    (A GCSE in Happiness would probably be the most depressing course in the world. Imagine the exams and the coursework … having to ‘demonstrate’ that you’re happy, studying the history of happiness …)


  6. March 1st, 2011 at 10:16 pm       Jan Webb Says:

    I, too, agree! Failing with a safety net like the ones trapeze artists bounce back up from!


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