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Adam Burk

Founder/ Director, Treehouse Institute

TEDCRED 500+

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In your opinion, what should the purpose of education be?

Education is a prominent cultural institution used to perpetuate the prevailing values of a society.

Our modern education system has a sordid past largely rooted in industrialism. It's aim is to produce economically viable products--employable citizens. Nearly all our tweaks to the system in the last 100+ years are simply attempts to ensure that the products (graduates) are prepared for the work force.

I want to hear from YOU as I believe this conversation is crucial to lay a foundation to create significant and meaningful change.

Here is my answer:

I believe that education should be an empowering process that allows and guides children to develop their passions, critical thinking, compassion, and orientation towards wisdom for timely action.

In other words, self-cultivation should be the purpose of education. Understanding self-cultivation in terms of being a part of a unified field of relationships is key to the growth of a mature culture of peace. When the natural web of our relationships is used to strengthen our depth of knowledge, the feedback from the environment supports timely adjustments and refinements in our emotional and technical developments.

For this conversation, please focus on the question "in your opinion, what should the purpose of education be?"

We'll talk about the "how" in another conversation.

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Closing Statement from Adam Burk

Thank you all for joining this conversation. There are beautiful aspirations here of bringing for the best of humanity through the development of individuals, married with tensions to ensure that society is served and supported and that the basics are not overlooked.

There are currently 365 comments and 365 distinct articulations of "what the purpose of education should be." The process to develop a consensus on this is beyond the scope and purpose of this conversation. However, I do hope that it is understood that this question and its answer are the shapers of education systems and in turn cultures.

And so I invite you to ponder the question Thomas Brucia raised earlier, "Who should decide what the purpose of education is? http://www.ted.com/conversations/8190/who_should_decide_what_the_pur.html

Once we decide who should be making that decision then we can return to my original question and ultimately re-inventing education.

Thank you all again for sharing of your selves.

In peace,
Adam

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  • Dec 15 2011: We Chinese ancestor has a saying教是为了不教 which means Education‘s purpose is just making everyone learn how to self-educate. I can't agree with this more ——in my opinion,I need education to make me understand my situation,understand others feeling,maintain interesting to this world,especially the nature.While even as a top-10 in my schoo llife,I can't get this from our current education system. I only got impatience and comparison,let myself adjust to the society,then lose myself
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      Dec 16 2011: Hello Zhiying,

      I have spent a lot of time with "The Great Learning" and this greatly informs my thinking and attitude. I agree that "how to self-educate" is a worthy purpose of education.

      Best,
      Adam
      • Dec 27 2011: woe,Adam,thanks for your confirm. Really appreciate your sincere attitude and careful consideration. My pleasure to share my view with u

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