Kenji Gerhardt

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What is the goal of education?

I am currently a high school student facing a problem and a question has occurred to me as a result. Having always been in advanced math classes, this year is unique in that I have had to drop from the honors level course to the normal level course in order to preserve my grade so I can get into college later. Before bending my pride enough to follow through on this decision, a question popped into my head:

Why do I need to lower the level of my education and reduce my experience in a subject to be more appealing to higher level educational facilities?

I personally feel that the goal of education is just that: education. Grades should just be a stick to measure where more work needs to be done, not where final judgement should be placed. Students like myself should be encouraged to challenge themselves so that they aren't getting everything right, not drop to a level where they can always get the best grade.

Those are my thoughts, anyway. What do you think the goal of education should be and of it's current state in America?

  • Oct 28 2011: -To have "the empty mind being replaced with open one"
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    Nov 3 2011: It is important to distinguish between education and school. One of the big problems in the US is how they are treated as non-distinct synonyms. While education should happen in schools, it should not be limited any more than art should be contained in a studio. The goal of schools should be to empower students to desire to educate themselves when they are not at school. The goal of education is to better the person so to better society.
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      Nov 3 2011: Thanks for bringing this up!

      Education is not synonym of school.
      While many think of the educational system as solely responsible for the learning process, the truth is education happens 24/7 weather in the hands of unequally skilled teachers, in the park, or hours at the Playstation.

      I am very interested in the connection between creativity and learning, and the role that we play as students, parents, teachers, curriculum developers, politicians and community members to affect that connection. It is clear to me that creative thinking and problem solving are key to the way the current generation will handle some of the most challenging issues humanity ever had in the next few years.

      From what I observed on the debate on creativity, some see the current educational systems as obsolete, others consider the lack of involvement of families, or the way assessment is done.

      As it becomes more evident that creativity is mostly absent in the learning process, the question we must face is, do we care enough to stop blaming "them" and becoming the change we want to see?

      Do we care enough to step out of our couches, roll up our sleeves, and make a difference?

      I am waiting for a response, the answer of the TEDsters will tell.
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        Nov 3 2011: I agree. Let's stop blaming "them" and blame me. Blame Drew!
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        Nov 3 2011: The quick answer is that I can tie any bad thing in the world back to something I did or did not do. I take full responsibility for all the ills of the world. The longer answer is a logical (and fun) argument in my book Why Not Blame Drew?
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    Nov 8 2011: Education is how knowledge is reproduced. Education is ideas having sex.
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      Nov 9 2011: Funny and smart too - really this point of viev is the sign of creative thinking : ) And I"m a teacher frm years so I know something about education
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      Nov 9 2011: Yes but all too often its just intellectual masturbation
  • Nov 8 2011: As a teacher, I will state my goal for education in my little corner of America. My goal for education is first to provide students with solid foundations in math, language, humanities and scientific principles, and a positive work ethic. Secondly, exposure to and experience of a great variety of topics and skills will allow them to find that which motivates them to continue learning and studying on their own. By graduation, if a student has passion for at least one thing, the experience, skills and knowledge to pursue it, and confidence in their abilities, they have the tools to succeed.

    I believe that you as a student (at whatever level) must decide whether it is more important to you to recieve the highest grade at this point, or push yourself beyond your current margin, and probably grow and learn in the process. Due to the nature of the system in which you want to participate, sometimes the GPA will do more to further your education in the long run. That, however is why the system is so often ineffective.

    I am a high school teacher (student-centered alternative) and I see time after time that those who "work for the grade" are not the ones to bring new ideas and concepts into our discussions. The students who totally exasperate me, or seem removed at the beginning will eventually become those who take the discussion or project to a creative, unusual, exciting place. Additionally, as a teacher, I know that most times the upper target that is set, either by the student, the teacher, the parent, friends, community, or whatever force, is the absolute limit of what will be achieved. Similarly, when the expectations are high but mostly achievable, students will reach and sometimes exceed them.
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      Nov 11 2011: Your comment caught my attention, very true!

      You also said, "I am a high school teacher (student-centered alternative)". As a teacher too, this option interests me.
      The subject of diverse modalities already in current practice came up in a recent conversation on education, and I don't think we covered enough of the options out there. We discussed ideas like 825 Valencia, Waldorf and Montessori schools, the MET in Rhode Island and their counterpart in California, inquisitive learning in some private schools, and a few others. Could you please tell me what exactly is the student-centered "alternative"?
      • Nov 11 2011: Good morning Karina,
        I must begin by telling you that I have had a somewhat unconventional career, both as a student (K-12 & college) and as a teacher. I now teach in a Tribal school, in a one-room school type setting. This affords me the opportunity to interact with each student as an individual and to some extent to adjust curriculum to individual student needs and strengths.
        Prior to actually having my own classroom I was most drawn to the Waldorf and Foxfire programs and researched many others. But as in all things (for me) I did not see any one method that I felt I could buy into completely. I see my students as an eclectic group with diverse needs, histories, and futures. And I must, and have the freedom to, respond appropriately and respectfully.

        That said, and knowing that the majority of HS teachers are in the public school system, I do believe that the master/apprentice approach combined with exploratory learning can be brought into most classrooms. Time must be spent up front to develop a classroom environment and community in which each student trusts and believes that they will be respected and encouraged as a learner, and is comfortable giving the same to everyone else in tbe classroom or school. Sounds lofty in some respects, but the time invested at the onset actually provides for a great deal more time and quality of learning over the course of a semester or year.

        I don't know if I need to say this, but No Child, and all of the fallout have destroyed teachers' sense of freedom to respond to individual student needs and students' ability to learn to love the process of learning. Fear-driven schools, curriculum, students and teachers, as well as the business model of administratio have frozen the American educational system. Until control of schools is brought back to the local level we will not see an educated, innovative society able to move forward in finding solutions to our current circumstances. That's my thought and rant. What are yours
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          Nov 11 2011: Thanks for your explanation, I have many thoughts and questions.
          Do you mind if I send you a message?
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    Nov 4 2011: Education is what you're left with when you've forgotten all that you've been trained to do.
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    Nov 2 2011: Goal of education: To make you think by Yourself, to find your passion and become compassionate!

    Ken Robinson is great in showing how to reform education, yet he does not say what eduacation is good for. Maybe watch John Wooden's video on sucess (Mr. Wooden was a teacher and a coach for about half a century, and believe me, he has got a lot to say about this topic!)
    http://www.ted.com/talks/john_wooden_on_the_difference_between_winning_and_success.html

    Also, I would advise anybody to read on Kurt Hahn's approach to education, which is that by personal example and experience.
    My favourite Hahn's quote is this one: 'I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.'
    You can read more on him on website dedicated to him: http://www.kurthahn.org/
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    Oct 30 2011: Just read the following this morning and it seems relevant to Kenji's question:


    The thing that makes you smile about spending a little time in the new University of the Arts building is the feeling that, in the face of all that maths, the converse proposition still has the capacity to flourish. That’s the one that suggests that if universities have a primary purpose it is as forums of open curiosity and rigorous criticism, as microcosms of democracy and free inquiry. The one that says students should be totally immersed in the here and now of what they might be capable of, and that making money from it should not only be the very least of their concerns, but all the more likely the less thought they give to it. That the drive to marginalise such ambitions, and to make them off-limits to the “common people” of that other St. Martin’s alumnus Jarvis Cocker, will have consequences far beyond the economic.
    And that if we are to create a society that values public space and spirited collaboration and independent thought, that doesn’t measure everything in terms of personal gain, then the new University of the Arts feels like it could be as good a place as any from which to start.
    Adams, T. (2011) No price can be put on the value of creativity, even in straitened times. Observer Newspaper, 30/10/11, p. 41.
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    Oct 30 2011: I think the goal of education should be to educate and encourage our youth to reach their own individual potentials.However ı do not think this is being done.The education today just keeps on pushing students to getting into the best colleges,getting the highest grades which are mostly from subjects like maths and science.However every individual has their own unique skils,one might be very creative and passionate about art but might not be very good at maths,we should embolden this person to take more art classes and focus on his/her abilities and talents more then studying maths.This way we will have happier and more successful citizens in our society.
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    Oct 30 2011: To have a curious mind life long.
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      Oct 30 2011: Mr. Solaiman, I really like your answer!
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        Oct 30 2011: Honored I am with your words thereby obliged to you Ms.Eisner :)
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    Oct 29 2011: I believe it is a question that you should ask yourself, what is education to you. The reason for that is because I believe that everyone have a different view point on that, some might say education is to get good grades so they can get into a good college and get a good job. Some people might say education is because they want to learn, some people might say because their parents told them to. When you found out what is the reason for you, your path will seem a lot more clear to you. For me education is a combination between fulfilling my thirst for learning, and at the same time equip me with skills to get a good job.
    You don't have to worry about the grades and the class, whatever class you are in, does not stop you from learning what you want. You can be very advanced in Maths, and still sit in a lower level class. Sit in the normal class, when your done, challenge yourself with something more difficult. No one is stopping you to challenge yourself.
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    Oct 27 2011: To actually answer your question, the purpose of education is different for each person involved.

    The great problem is, in the past, we have had one-size-fits-all approaches to curriculum and assessment.

    The world no longer operates this way and we are seeing a lot of people clinging desperately to old traditions simply because they feel comfortable with what they have always done and are not prepared to try something new or radical.
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    Oct 27 2011: To make the next generation better than the last.
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    Nov 10 2011: To meet the goal of learning.
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    Nov 10 2011: In the U.S. It was told that the goal of education by the Trilateral Commission (liberal elites)was "the indoctrination of the young" and "to train people to be obedient and conformist" not think too critically, do what your told to do and remain passive. etc I would also say it is a gate way into the work force.

    Overall I think there is a difference between getting an education and actually learning and obtaining knowledge. I think the over all intent of education is a good one (being that it gives individuals the right to feed their curiosity) but I think where you run into trouble is when the educational system is linked with economics and politics (i.e. budget cuts).
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    Nov 10 2011: Education aids the development of a sound mind to enable the individual make sound judgements.Thus, any educational process void of this development is an exercise in futility.
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    Nov 9 2011: Goal of education"To turn out a diamond from a bit of stone"
  • Nov 9 2011: Let me pose something that may help. The purpose of education is "to learn to think". As someone with a level of math background this logic I suspect may appeal to you. Education in the classical sense (all the blah blah) is to prepare you for entrance into society as a productive individual in theory. It fails. The reason it fails is three fold....the lack of a master / apprentice relationship (the way the vast majority of us learn best) with it replaced by "mass education" and the lack enforcing the purpose above are the first two. Let me explain more....First almost all knowledge exists on the Internet so anyone wanting an education has easy access to almost unlimited resources, both structured and unstructured. Secondly you do not have to memorize 'stuff" but you do need to be able to formulate questions and access the great library in cyberspace. The third reason it fails is because education grades, not education, is the way the system is structured by academics who should, but don't, know better (along with gov't and the DOE) although the private sector is changing that. Again let me explain...if you have an interest in a particular area logically in a master apprentice relationship you would pursue that as your primary course of study. You would also not be penalized for being slow or fast...you would simply go at the rate you can and wish to absorb the subject at (we all differ thank 'God or evolution). You today have a limited choice given the existing structure but your thoughts are dead on....grades are meaningless and the system is corrupt. Spread the word if you agree....organize your fellow students....go en masse to the next PTA meeting and explain basics....only you can effect change. Should you do this make sure you get the media's attention and even think about a website ......Students for Better education. I would be happy to contribute a number of unpublished white papers on the subject (destined to address the same subject).
  • Nov 8 2011: Hi Kenji,

    I'm not sure about America, but from my experience I've found the following:

    Education --> understanding what happened in the past, what is happening now and to prepare for the future --> one becomes open minded --> communication to other becomes easier --> new perspective is shown --> thought process changes --> acceptability and tolerance level increases

    In terms of grades, it's a filtration system to isolate those who can pay attention, solve problems and is committed to find the answer. CGPA is a pressure test to see who can take the heat and add value to a firm (in most cases). Education tries to lower ignorance, and without measurable knowledge or experience it's hard to isolate one candidate from another.
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    Nov 8 2011: To stop people from thinking for themselves.
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    Nov 8 2011: The goal of education is to enable us, as a species, to deal with an unknown future.
  • Nov 8 2011: I gave a speech at a University and I wondered Why is everyone in the class. A Ted.com video titled something like, "the why of Google". He explains Google shows why they have meaning. Well, Why is education present? Is our president educated? Are lawyers and Doctors educated? Do we find understanding between each other with education? I looked around the room I was speaking in, I found that everyone in that room had thier own why for being there. The university, city, state and Fed governent had their own why. Education connects all these things.

    Were is the hidden danger? Buracracy is the danger. I have to agree that it is a efficient form of running an organization. The only problem is it is a cold system. It possess a form of selection to limit people. Sometimes it limits the wrong people. It sets up barriers to control the population. Laugh at it and form meaningful connection to jump over these barriers.

    When I was in high school I did the same thing. I came to a realization. When I dropped from my honor courses I found that I never lowered my education level. In fact, I ended up learning a lot more than if I stayed in honor courses. In addition, I was paid to do homework for honor students and I still didn't go back to honors. Today I meet random people who take notes when I speak. I have never stopped learning after college. Learning is my fuel for life.So, why be judged? I'll tell you why in my conclusion.

    To conclude, I found that my learning abilities was never defined by what grades I got, but rather what I did with what I learned. I found that taking classes other than my focus helps me understand the world. My understanding helps me find connections in the world. Believe it or not connections are the world. My progress cant be put in terms unless it is measured. We use grades as our measurement. Were would crime be without punishment? Remember honor is only a title and grades are measurements.

    I hope you the best in your educational journey
  • Nov 8 2011: Maybe lowering your level shows that you are able to see your own flaws and better analyze your situation. Which do you think would look better to a University? Someone that refuses to acknowledge it and fails a "higher level class." And I don't think that they are higher or lower. They are mislabeled. It is just the people in those classes are better accustomed to that style of teaching, therefore are able to grasp the information faster. It might not be that you are at a lower level, but that you just have not found the right teacher.

    I can't say I know the current state of education. The problem I have is the impression that a lot of younger people have about college. That they need to go to the "top universities," which in most cases are just the most expensive. You get out of school what you put into it. And school should only be the start. They give you a decent foundation and its up to you to pursue a certain area. Really, we don't need to go to college. Could probably get a lot of the same information through going to your local library. But some things you might miss out on are the interractions with people from different walks of life. But I guess that can be solved by just moving out on your own. There are many alternatives that won't put you into a ton of student debt.
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    Nov 8 2011: to educate
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    Nov 6 2011: For some reason, advanced math honors teachers grade advanced math students overly tough. They want only the best math students in their 4th year calculus class. Every advanced math student who passes should get a least a "B," and math honors teachers should not deliberately flunk a large precentage of their honor students.

    You should get your parents to contact the parents of other students who have been hurt by this policy. Then all of you should make an appointment to meet with your principal. The teacher who is doing this to you and others is out of line.

    When you are an honors student in high school, you have tendency to accept things. Your math teachers nose is out of joint, you need to get your principal to reset it.

    Tell me the name of your school and the name of your math teacher. I would be happy to contact your principal myself. I am fairly good at reasoning with people. I had a snobbish honors math teacher in high school who every year deliberately flunked 50% of the students who elected to take her honors math class. All the students she flunked were top students. She didn't care if she ruined their grade-point average. Only top students choose to take honors math. When a teacher flunks half her class every year, and she has only the most ambitious students in her class to begin with, there is something wrong with the teacher, not his or her students.
  • Nov 5 2011: Read C. S. Lewis's "The Abolition of Man" which focuses on the goals of education. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition1.htm
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    Nov 4 2011: First of all, that is a great question. I just graduated high school last year, and I'm in my first semmester of college. I'm studying educational psychology, to learn just that; what is the purpose of education? How do we learn best? What is the best way to teach? etc. One of my professors said, conserning the upcoming finals, "Finals are a difficult time of your life, they're unlike anything else you'll experience." I thought about that for a minute and asked in reply, "If the purpose of education is to prepare us for real life experiences, and finals are like nothing else we will experience, then why do we bother subjecting ourselves to it?" He didn't have an answer.
    Most educators will tell you that the purpose of education is to create responsible, productive citizens. Either education if failing at that, in view of the irrisonsibility of the banking industry and stock brokers which caused the financial collapse, or the true purpose of education is something much broader than that. What that broader, underlying purpose is, I don't know. I beleive it was sprung out of the natural human desire for truth, which may also be a connection to deity, for some.
    Of course, this is all assuming that by education we mean formal education, in a classroom setting, with a teacher at the front, lecturing. However, I beleive that education goes beyond the walls of the classroom, there's a lot you can learn about the world in your back yard, or within the confines of your own mind. Leanardo DaVinci had practically no formal education, and yet he became possibly one of the greatest geniuses even known. I'm not suggesting that you drop out of school, but that you could challenge yourself to accomplish that higher math without the aid of a teacher or class. I agree with you that there's too much emphasis on grades. Contine this line of questioning authority, questioning the purpose of education. That's half the battle: asking the right question.
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    Nov 4 2011: Education is obviously as a whole directed toward the defeat of ignorance in young blooming minds, however I do agree that the newer complex system of higher level classes and college acceptance can completely misguide students. Basic education is different from the more complex styles of learning American schools adapt commonly between 11th and 12th grade.
  • Nov 4 2011: I would like to help create an list. i.e education by creating a data base of stuff high schools need to learn before graduating.
    any ideas would be great.
    Now that you have finished schooling , I would like to educate myself.
  • Nov 4 2011: I think its a personal choice. If you want to "GAME" the system sure take a lower level class as a means to an end of getting into a "DREAM" college. But if its is learning take the lower grade. Now only if there are enough of you taking a bolder decision can the system change to allow the "DREAM" college to take you with a lower grade but higher learning. my child took the opposite decision got bead grades but her dream college did take her in and when she applied for jobs, given that she knew what she was talking about helped her get it..
  • Nov 4 2011: To me without a philosophy the education is nothing. How do you know that your school curriculum is much more fit to those of children's needed? I mean we are teachers all have things to be learned by child. So it is a kind of interaction between learners and educators...
  • Nov 4 2011: Easy question, easy answer: To give you answers for you to question about.
  • Nov 3 2011: I have to admit that on a regular basis, I use perhaps 10% of the things I learned in my classes at school. For instance, no one has ever quizzed me on the difference between a drupe and a pomme, nor do I think that knowledge will ever spell the difference between something good happening to me and something bad.

    What I did get that was invaluable was an understanding of how American institutions work. To get out of high school with a diploma, you must understand and fulfill an arbitrary set of requirements, including getting to know a wide variety of teachers, understanding what they want from you, and giving it to them. That's the blueprint for every job you will ever have.

    The next level is meshing those requirements with the slightly more complex requirements of getting into a University, and then going through the whole exercise again at the University level where the professors don't even pretend to like you and be your friend the way they did in high school. In order to get out of this system with a diploma, there will be much negotiating, finding and filling out forms, proving to this person or that person that you have fulfilled their needs, etc. All this prepares you for things like proving to an HR department that you are actually a citizen and yes, you already gave them your tax forms.

    If you learn interesting stuff like how to parse sentences, solve complex mathematical equations and put together chemicals that can explode in the process, that's a huge bonus, but not always relevant to the jobs you will get right out of college.
  • Nov 3 2011: Well Kenji i have never been to the US as yet, but i certailnly aspire to do that. im 28 and a Government Servant in the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Commerce... i have done my masters in Sociology from the University of the Punjab, Lahore Pakistan. well i dont have any particular answers to ur questions that what the goal of the education should be and its current state in America, but certainly i want to share some experiences and understanding of my own.
    Well throughout my life so far, i have always been an average student in school, college and the university as well... i have never been a good student, i think, as far as the academics are concerned, but when it comes to general study or general knowledge sort of things, i feel i have agreat urge for that and i even strive very hard in order to improve my knowledge and general sensibility level... im not denying the fact that, while in school or in ur syllabic studies, one should not work hard. Obviously skills develop with time and the educational institutions provide a breeding ground to improve those skills and the grades and the marks obtained in the school or college clearly manifest ur ability to go further in life and progress.
    But again there has been cases where people, who didn't perform well in their academic life, did wonders in their practical fields. so i think one should start work hard right from the start of one's career in school, because he has to develop that ability to work harder in future with the passgae of time.
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    Nov 3 2011: The goal of education is to make you ready for life, personal and professional.
  • Nov 3 2011: อยากรู้ว่าเขาทำอะไรกันแ่ต่อ่านไม่เข้าใจ
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    Nov 3 2011: The goal o education is to prepare you for ups and downs that are sure to happen to you in the near future. Many people think math is pointless and that they don't need it, but truth is math is everywhere, and if you don't know how to calculate or think like a mathematician, you are sure to face more downs than ups.
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    Nov 3 2011: By your question, are you asking what it should be? or what it is today?
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    Nov 3 2011: Thank you for bringing this question up, it's something that we need to review as a society, but have been putting off for way to long.
  • Nov 3 2011: That's a big question to answer because education is a big word. What does it mean by education in the first place? There are many different aspects to education, like attaining a university degree etc. The goal of education should be to empower individuals to make judgements and good decisions without compromising on morality, for example, one shouldnt make use of his knowledge on chemicals and create bomb explosives that harm people. Education shouldnt be misused. It carries the intent of equipping people with skills and knowledge to enable them to make positive contributions to society. Education inculcates in individuals the sense of responsiblity towards society and have a sense of ownership and belief that whatever actions they are doing or making is indirectly contributing to what is happening in society. Education also inculcates in individuals the life long learning attitude and that learning does not stop when one has left school. Education enables us to also differentitate a right from a wrong and enables us to see more clearly what is more important as well.
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    Nov 3 2011: To meet the requirements set by examination boards (in the state sense).
  • Nov 2 2011: I think that the current goal of education can be defined by three groups.

    The first being what is the goal of your education from your parents, family or friends perspective. That would be that you stay in school learn everything you can. Study the basics math, science, history and so on. Do this persistantly so that you can have a childhood, life and future better than the one they themselve have or have had. Your grandparents worked hard to raise your parents so that the hope they had in their grandchildren would change the world.

    The second is from your own personal perspective. Study the basics but most importantly study the things that interest you most whether it be science, math, art or technology. Whatever it is learn what makes you happy and that will lead you to what you want to do in life. For some us we had the speech from our grandparents who walked fifteen miles to school in ten feet of snow in July. Use this as inspiration to do your best no matter the obsticles, no matter what say or think. For if you don't you will regret later.

    The third is from the governments point of view which is they really don't care. If they did care the education system wouldn't be as broken as it is. It seems the current system is more readily wanting to teach how to conform to the current thought process instead of individual thinking. More bent towards the mind numbing we are all the same no losers program. Not teaching the things that matter or simply skimming over them.

    You do what you have too to meet your goals. Whether it hurts your pride is of no consequence as long as you stride to complete the main task at hand and eventually end up where you want to be. What difference does it make if it takes another year as long as it makes you happy and its what you want to do in life.
  • Oct 31 2011: Today's education is tomorrow's passport. your future doesn't start from tomorrow, it starts today. only readers can be leaders. Reader - Leader .... So read to lead. you can lead your life in a diraction you think is best for you.

    I teacher and I tell to my students to forget about grades and notes and I help them to understand the importance of education and knowledge (which doesn't require space). I help them to be smart beyond measure. (it turns out to be more coaching than teaching) but I think as a teacher we must listen more and talk less, this is one of the key of teaching. in the end they perform better than it is asked ... they get highly motivated by their success which is a bonus for university and society. we NEED well educated people for our future.
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      Nov 3 2011: I agree that by far the best teachers are coaches. I was also a teacher and thought that being a coach was by far the most important part. I always remember my University days - I remember speaking to my tutors and asking myself what can these people teach me? I believe that my high-school teachers, football coaches and friends taught me more than I ever learnt at University. It still surprises me to this day that University professors are so revered - I can honestly say that I didn't find one who inspired me in any way, academic or otherwise.
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    Oct 31 2011: As Sir Ken Robinson said, the purpose of public education is to produce college proffesors.
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    Oct 31 2011: Hai Kenji
    Education is to make a man -a man. So now what makes a man a man. When a man acquires wisdom as his virtue, he the moment becomes a true man. Whats the correlation between education and wisdom. Wisdom, after explaining the term in as many ways as possible is the ability to see the TRUTH as it is. To cultivate wisdom i.e., to find the truth , we need have first hand information about the subject in which we are inquiring the truth , education does the job here,its the process where we learn the truth which were found already by our ancestors. Open any of our books, we see TRUTH written about the subject , of course believed by the author. So we see the fun in education is to know the truth and know the question is,what for? Now we go back to ancient men of black ages , every time he makes a discovery, (like fire etc.,) i.e., education on a subject matter , he improves his circumstances, and the man kind keeps educating himself and now we stand here with a life style improved great a many times than his. So now we see the goal of education of an individual is to improve the circumstances of his(from mere survival to prosperity) and thereby the society. The education of the mankind comes handy on doomsday. now from here on you can imagine the fate of other uneducated organisms and man.
    If some student runs behind the grades , he will never realize the true potential of his and we just got to blame the system.
    Now the solution remains in a society hidden some where between capitalism and communism.
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    jag .

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    Oct 30 2011: To shape the society in which we live in
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      Oct 31 2011: In..which shape.....???
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        jag .

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        Oct 31 2011: What shape does water take when poured?? The shape of the container.

        Education is the container and society is the water.

        So the shape is a cubiod lolll no the shape is always changing :)
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          Nov 1 2011: oooo...............really appreciating jag!!!!
          but the education will not be always container if it happens to be in other small object then!???
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    Oct 30 2011: Kenji,I personally think that the role of education is to help students find out what to do when they do not know what to do. In other words, to stay curious, trouble shoot creatively, and keep on asking why. All other tasks can be done by machines.
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    Oct 30 2011: Though the goal of education..is uncountable but the result is
    same at ALL!!!
    DIE!!!
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    Oct 30 2011: The goal of education? Like Salim below......to discover in yourself that you want to be a life long learner. Pass your math class and get into college but find the wonder.

    Is it a wonderful world? Only if there's wonder inside you.

    My best wishes to ya!
  • Oct 30 2011: I feel your frustration and share similar issues. I am trying to go back to school but am struggling on which school and what major. Education is like most tools and doesn't necessarily have one particular use or purpose. To me the essence of education is to empower the individual with enough knowledge, flexibility, and stability to be not only self sufficient but help them contribute to the whole. One of the most important aspects in this particular approach is to familiarize the student with failure because it often takes many attempts and mistakes to create something which pushes the boundaries or ventures into the unknown. It is sometimes hard to face our fears but often times we find that it is fear itself and not the obstacles that should be avoided. In this regard the comfort zones of the student should be continually violated to help them expand it. The power of collaboration is virtually unparalleled so it is important to be able to ask for help and listen objectively as possible to others thoughts and opinions. I had a teacher who came from a family of educators and he saw the whole point of education is to help the student accept and utilize the paradoxical nature of the universe in that it is necessary at times to accept multiple sides of an argument or issue and not rush to judgment. Personally taking all of this into account I see public education at least in America as a complete failure because it requires flexibility and a focus on the individual student in order to reach these goals where most schools focus on tradition, uniformity, statics and require that answers be either right or wrong. There are many variations on a more personalized educational experience but usually require paying for a private school or venturing outside of the US. Ultimately I believe education is a very personal process which requires a lot of work on the part of the student and is what you make of it.
  • Oct 29 2011: The goal of education is survival on a Darwinian scale. Education is an important factor in the method and manor you survive and perpetuate the survival of those you influence. Freedom, success, and many other results are simply factors and degrees of survival.,
  • Oct 29 2011: Dear Kenji: You have posed a complex question! Do you limit your educational experience to the confines of the classroom? It seems too simplistic to say that the goal of education is to become educated, on the other hand it is a profoundly wise assumption. Lets separate education from schooling. One might be an educated person, and have never attended school. At the same time, one might have completed their schooling and still feel uneducated. Your challenge appears to be one of schooling. In order to satisfy entrance criteria to college, an applicant must provide proof of their Grade Point Average (GPA). GPA criteria, for example English and Math proficiencies allow gate keepers - usually Admission Officers - to make decisions about an applicants readiness to enter an academic institution. Your passion for learning, for Math particularly, and for critical thinking (indicators of an educated mind?) are inspiring. These passions will serve you well throughout life, and particularly as you maneuver through the scool system. Entrance requirements, evaluation, grades, credentials etc. are tools used within schooling systems. Don't let these tools get in the way of your education, your life long learning, your quest for knowledge. You can comply and/or accommodate the structures within the school system, and still engage in honours Math. In other words, engaging in advanced level math is not dependent on a school course. Enrol in a lower level Math course if that will enhance your ability to continue your schooling. Engage in higher level math through self directed study, math clubs, online learning forums to quench your thirst for knowledge, for learning. What do you think?
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      Oct 29 2011: I like how you contrasted education and schooling.

      I think the fact that Kenji is here proves he isn't limiting his educational experience to the confines of the classroom. Your suggestions for self-directed study are great!

      Good luck Kenji !
  • Oct 29 2011: It is to show us a way of life
    Get us to think and question everything and come up with our own answers based on our experiences
  • Oct 29 2011: Give people eyeopeners, create interest and wisdom, share interest or start discussion. But it will always be personal what kind of learning goals people have. So in my opinion there is no definition for education because it should always be differnt.
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    Oct 29 2011: The goal of education is freedom.
  • Oct 29 2011: Always do what is best for your life in the long run. The choice you are making is not so much about education, but about self advancement. Most decisions we make we hope lead to a better life. True if you stayed in the class you would feel pride about completing it, but graduating from a better college /university will probably get you a larger salary which will add to your life in the long run. There is no reason that you cant go back and complete this course at a later time when that stakes are not so high. Education enlightens a persons life but does make a good life. Remember that a good life is you ultimate goal.
  • Oct 28 2011: I sit here administering a test as I write this... Why am I giving a test? To measure two different things;
    1) What can my students produce from what I have taught them about Marketing
    2) What pieces are they missing that I left out, did not teach well, or need to re-purpose for next year

    The purpose of education is to graduate our students and have them be thoughtful, mindful, and contributing members of society.
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      Oct 28 2011: I agree that that is the ideal. The reality is far removed from the ideal.

      Your last statement is at odds with assessment. Students can still be thoughtful, mindful contributors without the need for testing and assessment.

      As a colleague of mine always says, you can't fatten a pig by weighing it.

      I would trust your evaluations as an educator over the effectiveness of standardised testing, any day.
      • Oct 29 2011: When you are weighing the pig you are trying to market it. The same way we market our kid's successes to prospective higher education institutions. Testing is completely valid if not measurably accurate or beneficial all of the time.
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          Oct 29 2011: You're probably right as far as this being the reality of most peoples' view of the purpose of education.

          It completely misses the point of the weighing pig statement though.

          The ideal is that we should be educating individuals to best reach their potential, not to put a star upon thars (see Dr Suess: Sneetches on Beaches). This has nothing to do with external measuring sticks.

          And as you point out, the reality is that most people never actually focus on the learner, only the system.

          I realise that there is a need to maintain a certain level of competency, especially in certain jobs and professions but this is not what I am referring to and is the responsibility of the profession/trade in question, not schools.

          "Higher" education is a joke (in my experience and opinion). Unfortunately, people value watermarks and signatures on expensive bits of paper over real experience and synthesised, practically applicable knowledge and skills. There is no need to measure that with artificial methods.
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    Oct 28 2011: Considering all of the vast advances we have had in the past two decades alone, I personally feel today's education curriculum is frighteningly out of date! The curriculum should be way more advanced by now but yet it is not. The reason you have to do what you did is because schools these days have forgotten the main objective when teaching. They are focused on grades more than ever in high school these days solely because of college and what they deem as necessary to be accepted in to one, which is the wrong message to send entirely. All that does is encourage the wrong notion that you have to have those grades in order to fit in with the rest of the world no matter the curriculum. Education should be about cramming as much information into the heads of as many kids as fast as possible so that when they are grown they will make even better decisions than us and ultimately invent and discover new things that we could not. What are we all doing this for if not for the benefit of our species in the future? Right now schools segregate students by IQ and judge you by grades that you don't have. Rather than pairing a strategic number of high IQ kids with low IQ kids to influence and encourage others. Teachers should use their grades to get an idea on what to teach in class, rather than making them compete for candy and needlessly instigate bullying. They should stop segregation by IQ and teach these students equally. Computer classes should be mandatory in all schools even as low as elementary. It is the 21st century and I am not talking about teaching kids how to use the internet. I am talking about teaching kids how to build computers at an early age. I am confident that today that is possible because I have literally seen friends teach their kids. Yes I know a nine year old who knows more about computers than most anyone. I wish I could say that there are many more like him out there. I hope one day I can. Good question Kenji Gerhardt! Kudos! ;)
  • Oct 28 2011: I believe education is a systematic method for deconvoluting, transferring, and creating knowledge, wisdom, and skills for the benefit of society and the individual. However, like life, education is what you make of it, but there are fundamentals that must learned (ironically, fundamentals are rarely fun). The basics, also like life, have standards and regulations intended to ensure a minumum quality...keep in mind, as quality increases time and money decrease. In the time-quality-money sense, education is an investment.

    Regarding your choice for the easier math class, it's your life so do what you want...butt if you want to go where you've never been then you'll have to do things you've never done. And if you go to college, your going to learn the math. That's why we call them the basics.
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    Oct 27 2011: Good call on the measuring stick.

    In NZ, we ideally use assessment to identify areas that need work but all too often, it actually gets fiddled with for a variety of reasons, rendering it instantly pointless and bullshit.

    Rather than try to convince idiotic bureaucrats, I simply put their agendas and expectations well below those of my students.

    Live like your view of education is real and in place and all the policy in the world won't matter. It has always been the people that make the difference, never the system.

    Power to the People!
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    Oct 27 2011: Education should be the tool that first teaches us to think and only then deals with knowledge. It should foster curiosity and an analytical thought process that gives us the tools to problem solve. In a perfect world you would be encouraged to take advance math since it is obvious that the lower level class will not expand your mind. Grades would be weighted to take into account the difficulty factor. Obviously a "B" in advances math or history is not equivalent to the same grade in a lower level course.
  • Oct 27 2011: i think education the door to haven without it you cant live , it will change your personality and make its better , and it will let others to look at you in different way , as well as a job you can get better job and more money , also being educated will effect you kids in the future in good will
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    Oct 27 2011: I like Amira's response. I'm of the mind that "school" education in general isn't about what Amira has posted however. K-12 and even much of college is about meeting state requirements; less about learning, experiencing and experimenting and the freedom to learn from mistakes.

    As an aside, I worked in college admissions for a couple years. You may actually be hurting yourself by not staying in your higher level math class. Sometimes it's seen as more favorable to have earned a less than perfect grade in Calculus than an A in something easier.
  • Oct 27 2011: Education should help you see things from different points of view, identifiy options and find solutions and have the ability to predict outcomes. Education should help you adapt to new dchanging situations and keep you focused on the bumpy road of life. Education doesnt have the solutions, it is your tool kit. Whether it is scientific, literary or religious education, the final answer lies within your heart. Downgrading your math level to keep in the game is very ironic, there should be a mechanism that maintains your upward motion.Good luck