Saturday, October 8, 2011
What Education May not be able to Give
He mentions that a graduate from an alternative school, in a public forum, said that what he had learned about college was completely different from his experience of college. A teacher in an alternative school said that they had succeeded in reducing the level of anxiety concerning studies and grades but are far from educating for creativity.
The writer feels we have to find a way of uniting the desire we have for producing better students and the methods to realize that goal. What do we hope for our students? He asks. The answer, he says, should determine our methods.
One of the goals of education is to help the student become a person of character by nurturing the resolve to reach this goal. The person of character is one who can have rapport with his times and can sympathize with the marginalized in our society, see the injustice of divisions and the tragedy of war, can inspire others with an empathy for all those facing difficulties, and all those who are different from themselves. In short: to be able to see others with a moral perspective.
He concludes his article by noting two understandings for the word 'sympathy'. The example he uses is seeing a beggar with whom he becomes one. It is only the beggar who exists, and he gives alms.
The other understanding of sympathy is different. Seeing the beggar he intuitively sees his own future related to the beggar. The beggar is not just one person but a sign of God showing us the darkness and reality of the present times. A person with this common sympathy will have this important spiritual capability. Why are there people who are hungry and need food? This is moving from the autonomous individual to one who has a sympathy for others that is not just personal.
The adage "It is better to give a hungry man a fishhook than to give him a fish" may be an easier way of understanding what is meant. Seeing the beggar we do what we need to help, but at the same time we work to change society, so we do not have those who have to beg for food. Hopefully, we do not see these positions as either-or but rather as both-and. To educate a person with this understanding of life is possibly beyond the capability of any type of education.