Davaodave wrote:Meaningful discussion of the nature and methods of education have been bedevilled by difficulty in agreeing on the root of the term. It comes from Latin, certainly, but does it come from "educare" or "educere"? The first means to fill up, as in filling up a glass with water, while the second has to do with leading or drawing out.
In the second chapter of his novel "Hard times", Charles Dickens introduces a character called Mr Gradgrind who runs a school. Gradgrind sees his pupils as "little pitchers" who need to be filled with facts. He calls on a boy called Bitzer to define a horse. This the boy does by means of a memorised definition of a series of facts about horses. He includes in his definition the word "graminivorous". a word the meaning of which it is highly unlikely that he was aware. He had learned facts and been filled up - "educare" - but, if he could not have understood the language in which his definition was couched, can we say that he had been educated?
More recently, those of us in education have realised that a major part of our task is to discover the talents of our students and the things in which they are interested. These can then be brought forth and developed and provide a sense of fulfillment for the student. Clearly, this reflects the idea of education as being derived from "educere".
Jacques Maritain, an eminent teacher of philosophy, wrote "You will not learn from me philosophy, but how to philosophise: not thoughts to repeat, but how to think." I have always used this as the basis for my work as a teacher. My function is not to provide my students with pre-digested facts that can be examined by means of a multiple-choice test. It is to provide them with the materials upon which to base their own thinking and further discovery according to their interests and talents - and the testing process has to provide them with opportunities to display that thinking.
I have just spent ten years teaching adults in China, My classes were very small, so it was possible to deal with individual differences quite easily but, especially in their primary schools, class sizes are very large. This results in a teaching method that is closer to the Victorian ideal of filling up the pupils with facts. If the teacher asks a question, the whole class choruses the answer. How does the teacher know if a particular pupil has given the correct answer or, indeed, had given any answer at all?
However, this fits with the traditional thinking of many Asian cultures. The emphasis is on the group and not the individual.. As a Japanese proverbs says "If a nail protrudes from the surface of the wood it will soon be knocked down again."
So, what can we say about education? Firstly, we can assert that it should be an enabling activity for the student. Secondly, however, we can say that it may not be so enabling in cultures where the individual is considered to be subservient to the masses.
In the West, most educators see the word as deriving from "educere", but in less developed cultures or those in which there is less emphasis on individual development, the practice of education still adheres to the idea of "educare".
I have read all the posts here and they were eye opening to me.Whatever is written here is about education in US.Unfortunate Indian education is some what better in value orientation otherwise no better than US.We have imported almost all features of Western education system.We are still continuing Macaulay's system and views.In schools we are running after Examination and not education.Here examination and score dominates education. There is a difference between education and training. In India it was believed that "knowledge is that which liberates us.Liberation here means liberation from whatever we don't want .To understand what should be the education, we have to understand and have to very clear about whom and why education ? That will decide what and how of education.If these questions are answered and agreed upon the young teachers and students can uplift the standard of human education.