What is Education For?

An interesting article asking, “What is education for?” It’s from a lecture to future Waldorf high school teachers and poses some interesting questions. Enjoy!

Education in the Presence of the Unknown from “In Context”, Fall 2012
by Craig Holdredge

Most parents are deeply concerned about the education of their children. They want their children to become capable individuals who live satisfied lives and who are productive in their chosen professions. They feel that school education should facilitate this development: it should give students the knowledge and skills to master life and to find and thrive in a good job.

Nevertheless, parental thinking about “what is education for?” tends to shrink toward the short term. Are you preparing my teenager for college? This direction of thought
often manifests itself when the students are in 7th or 8th grades and leads the parents to wonder whether they should send their students to a different high school, which they
sometimes do.

In such a frame of mind, thinking about education becomes narrow. Each stage of the educational process becomes the preparation for the next: kindergarten prepares
for elementary school, which prepares for middle school, which prepares for high school, which prepares for college, which prepares for a profession. When curricula are developed out of this perspective, the tendency is to bring what is perceived as needed at a later stage into an earlier one. A public school teacher in the U.S. may now receive training to teach her students how to use PowerPoint in the 2nd grade! Why? Well, they will need to do their middle school reports using PowerPoint so they need to be prepared. And why should they do PowerPoint in middle school? They need it for high school…more

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