Would it not be better to develop an education plan to attain a quality of mind that is steeped in compassion, sensitivity and self-awareness?
Research reveals that the development of brain functioning is shaped largely by an individual’s experience. For example, during the early stages of life, sensory experiences are critical for the development of sensory structures of the brain. The purpose of education, during these early stages of life, aptly provides appropriate experiences that develop sensory awareness. We know through cognitive research that rudimentary language skills are best taught at the preschool level; reasoning abilities during the primary school years. After age ten, the main focus for brain maturation is to develop the integrative systems of the brain. Unfortunately though, educational curriculum does little to develop integrative brain functioning. Instead, from Middle School onwards, the curriculum concentrates mostly on the development of logical reasoning skills. By overlooking the development of these higher cognitive processes, during the formative years of education, an opportunity to create a holistic awareness and a potential for selfactualization is missed.
What is the purpose of education? Is it to pass exams? To find a rewarding career? To develop knowledge, skills, and character? Perhaps, to implant a will and facility for learning? All of these assertions are acceptable as a definition for education and demonstrate the diversity about the purpose of learning and teaching. There is not one definition of education that is acceptable to all. It is ambivalent, attached to the beliefs of one’s own values and experience. To understand the purpose of education it is important to ask, “Does the individual exist for society, or does society exist for the individual?” If society needs the individual for its own purposes, then it is concerned with what is taught. The required knowledge in order to
function and maintain the needs of society is imparted. Ultimately, this creates a ‘doing’ person, one who conforms and is respectable in their society. If however, society exists for the individual, then the individual needs to be freed from his/her conditioning to allow a ‘being’ person to develop. The following should surely be the outcome of education: “An integrated person who has acquired the necessary knowledge and skills for everyday interaction; but more so, has attained a quality of mind steeped in compassion, sensitivity and self-awareness.”
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