Education as a Means to an End (via LongWind)

Persuading my students that education is a lifetime process is a lot like nailing snow to the wall. It is generally unavailing and at best temporary.

The belief that a diploma indicates an education is pernicious. It is self defeating. A diploma is like a license to drive. Its possession is evidence that one knows how to learn. But if it is considered an end in itself, it is of little use. It is like getting a driver’s license, proudly carrying it with you and proudly showing it to everyone and then never driving a car.

We are confused between education as a finished product delivered at the end of the assembly line and education as a matter of capability. One is static becoming obsolete. The other is dynamic continually changing form and creating new dynamics and possibilities in endless chains.

As a society, treating education as a finite process limits and cheapens political discourse. It makes learning into a jobs game like going around the monopoly board.

To build a society, a civilized place for people to develop, education never ends. It continually creates and inspires.

A diploma without further learning is a static choice. It is easy. The other, lifetime learning, is dynamic and difficult.

We can do what is difficult. We have a responsibility to our posterity to do the difficult, to leave our descendants a lasting example and to call from us, our best efforts.

James Pilant

Education as a Means to an End I don’t think I’ll be asked to defend myself if I say that most ‘learners’ at secondary or tertiary level treat their education as a means to an end. I’d imagine the student who is studying for the sheer love of learning is a far rarer animal than the student who is studying because it is the only way to attain whatever goal he or she has set. Kids spend their lives at school waiting to be out of school, and students tend to be at university wait … Read More

via LongWind

2 thoughts on “Education as a Means to an End (via LongWind)

  1. Yes. We can do what is difficult but the first step is recognizing there is a problem. I haven’t seen that from any of our leaders and it’s certainly not discussed in the media. The work ethic and hunger for learning that once existed no longer is there. We have become a soft nation; too many have had it too good for too long. It used to be young people were motivated to succeed at least in part to have it better than their parents. Since they have been given everything they need and want, what’s left? The problem is exacerbated by our instant access culture. Press a button and you have what you want. Go on the Internet and download what you need. We are not a doing society anymore. We are a let others do it for us society. It has taken its toll and those of us who are trying to educate young people are constantly frustrated by the prevailing mentality of students — tell me what I need to know to get the highest grade or best job. I don’t have any answers because I don’t think many people recognize the problem or, if they do, it’s easier to just make believe it doesn’t exist.


  2. Excellent comment. I’ll put it up as a blog post.
    Have you ever considered – we pick a topic – one of us comments – the other responds – and we kick the ball back and forth for a while. It might build up our readership.
    James Pilant


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