I know we as educators frequently discuss what we think the purpose of education is. Fancy words and creative sentences abound when this noble philosophy is discussed. We debate, digest and dissect until we feel we have reached some form of conclusion, that is, until someone new sparks a different discussion and we ponder it all over again. Yet how often do we ask our students that question? How often do we ask them what the purpose is of education and then listen to their answer?
Well, last week I unleashed the question on my fabulous 5th graders who took the time to ponder and then blog about it. And they would love to hear your thoughts! However, a couple of things struck me as a trend in their answer, so much so that Wordle even agrees with me.
- There is a purpose to education, it is not just a waste of time.
- Education somehow prepares us for life after school and without we may not be succesful (something I don't totally agree with)
- Education is related to their life
I loved what Karina wrote;
Why is Education so important to kids and adults? This question made me really think. I have heard kids say ” Why do I have to go to school.” and their parents say ” Because you have too.” It is not the easiest question to answer but if you think about, it is actually easy. My first answer was… This man screwed up his life and does not want it to happen to anybody else. After I thought that for a little bit it came to me. It was that people way way back used writing and reading to escape from people who controlled them and didn’t treat them well. If people were educated to write and read then they had more choices in life. They could work a lot of different jobs. Education gives us choices in life.
Emphasis added by me.
No matter what we decide the noble purpose of education is, I love how my student, David, adds another dimension to the question. He finishes his post with,
"A final and really important reason for going to school is making friends. I mean, it feels good to talk to someone when you are sad, really excited, bored and just to talk! You need to know how to interact with people if your job requires it."
So perhaps education from the eyes of a 5th grader is just to prepare them for life outside of school, to teach them to read or write, but in the end it is also about developing them as human beings, to maintain them as someone who others want to be friends with. And that is indeed a noble purpose.