What is an Education? – An Introduction, Implications
Until the twentieth century, teacher received relatively little preparation and had little say in terms of their employment. Teacher training consisted of one or two years and sometimes less at a teacher training college, and teachers had to follow strict rules and regulations concerning their behavior outside the school. Unorganized and isolated from one another, teachers could be summarily dismissed by a board of education.
Now eras of education have been changed. Today, teachers seek to be professionals with expert–in-skills, style, and knowledge concerning instruction content and method in their particular fields. In addition they are well organized as groups that have gained greater rights to be judged on their work performance, attitude and behavior inside the classroom rather than on their attitude and behavior outside the classroom. Often, too, they participate in decisions making about work conditions. In many cases, they are forgoing stronger links with school administrators, university researchers, government officials, and the communities they serve.
Education is very important human activity. It was born with the birth of human race, so it will continue to function as long as the human race lives. The boundaries of education are as wide as those of life. Its implications are rich and varied. Just, as it is difficult to squeeze life in a few words. In the same way it is difficult to give a single meaning the term with references to the following:
A: DERIVATIVE MEANINGS OF EDUCATION
In derivative sense, the term ‘education’ is considered as educare and educere.
a) Educare: education is a Latin word and its mean;
i. To nourish
ii. To bring up
iii. To raise
So educating a child means nourishing or bringing up the child according to specific aims.
b) Educere: Educere is also a Latin word and it means.
i. To lead out
ii. To draw out
So educating a child means drawing out what is hidden in the child or leading him out of darkness, into light.
B: MEANING OF EDUCATION FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF WESTERN THINKERS:
The meaning of the term Education, as understood by Western thinkers, has wider implications for a modern reader. In fact, the modern concepts of ‘Education’ Owen too much like Western thinkers who have interpreted education as a developmental process. Important views are summed-up below;
(a) Thinkers of the past:
i. According to Plato, “Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment. It develops in the body and in the soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection which he I capable of.”
ii. According to Aristotle, “Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body….It develops man`s faculty especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which perfect happiness essentially consists.”
iii. According to Comenius: “All who are born as human beings need education because they are destined to be real men, not wild beasts, dull animals, and clumps of wood.”
i. According to Pestalozzi,“Education is the natural, harmonious and progressive development of man`s innate powers.”
ii. According to Froebel, “Education is enfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the child makes internal, external.”
iii. According to John Dewy, “Education is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his responsibilities.”
iv. According to Reymont, “Education is the process of development from infancy to maturity, the process by which he adopts himself gradually in various ways of his physical and spiritual environment,”
v. According to T.P. Nunn, “Education is the complete development of the individuality of the child so that he can make an original contribution to human life according to the best of his capacity,”
vi. According to Thompson, “The influence of the environment on the individual with a view to producing a permanent change in his habits, behavior, of thought and of attitude,”
According to John Adams, “Education is conscious and deliberate process in which one personality acts upon another in order to modify the development of that by the communication and manipulation of knowledge,”
C: NARROW AND BROADER MEANING OF EDUCATION
i. Education in narrow meaning:
In the narrow sense, education is confined to school and university instruction. From this point of view, education of the child starts as soon as he/she enters the school where he/she is given a limited and definite amount of knowledge. Under this scheme, education of the child is over when, having received the given amount of knowledge, he/she leaves the institutions and takes up some occupation in life. The narrow meaning of education has been summed up by T. Reymont in the following words:
“In the narrower and more definite sense… education doesn’t include self-culture and the general influences of one`s surroundings, but only those special influences which are consciously and designedly brought to bear upon the young, by the adult portion of the community, whether brought the family, the church or the state.”
In short, education in its narrow meaning is equivalent to schooling, instruction or act of training.
ii. Education in its Broader Meaning
In its broader meaning, education is a life-long process. In this connection, J.S. Mackenzie says: in the wider sense, “It is a process that goes on throughout life, and is promoted by every experience in life.” According to the opinion of Prof. Danville, “Education in its wider sense includes all the influences which act upon an individual during his passage from the cradle to the grave,” thus, education in its broader meaning is the cumulative effect of varied experiences received by an individual in his home life, out-of-home life, in the school, out of school, here there and everywhere. In the words of Lodge, “All experiences are said to be educative. The bite of mosquito, the taste of a watermelon, and the experiences of falling I love, of flying in an aeroplane, of being caught in storm in a small boat…..All such experiences have directly educative effect on us …whatever broadens your horizon, deepens your sight, refines your reactions , and stimulates thought and feeling educates us.”
A comparative view of education in its narrow and broader meaning is tabulated below:
1. Meaning; Education is limited to schooling and instruction
2. Duration; Starts with the child`s entry into a school or place of instruction and ends with the completion of specified course content.
3. Aim; the aim of education in its narrow sense is to impart limited knowledge in specific subjects. Its aim may be to pass some examination.
4. Methods; education in the narrow sense makes use of limited methodology. It is confined to classroom teaching in which text-book is the be-all and end-all of instruction.
5. Contents; contents of education are limited to specific bits of knowledge which are pre-determined. Each portion of the content is spread over a limited time-scale. It is to be completed for a specific purpose within specific time. Contents include only the academic subjects traditionally taught in the school.
1. Education goes beyond schooling and instruction.
2. Education is a process which goes on throughout life and ends only when life ends. It is a life-long process.
3. In its broader sense, educational aims don`t get delimited to specific attainment. However, they may be stated in their most general sense, education in this sense becomes man-making activity. Its aim is all-round development of human personality.
4. There is no limited methodology. Experience is the touch-stone of education in its wider sense. Education is one with life which teaches in both bitter and sweet ways.
5. Contents of education encompass the whole life. No specific time-scale is enough to acquire the whole knowledge. Contents of education in its wider sense, includes the totality of experiences that pupil receives through the manifold activities that go on in the school, in the classroom, library, laboratory, workshop, playground, electronic, print media and in the numerous informal contacts between teachers and learners.
D: COMPREHENSIVE DEFINITION OF EDUCATION
Redden`s quoted definition of education is quite comprehensive. It reads like this, “Education is the deliberate and systematic influence exerted by the mature person upon the immature, through instruction, discipline and harmonious development of physical, intellectual, aesthetic, social and spiritual powers of human beings, according to individual and social needs and directed towards the union of the educate with his creator as the final end.”
An analysis of Redden`s definition of education will show that—-
o Education is deliberate and systematic. Education is a deliberate process. It is a conscious process. It involves care and guidance. It is not a haphazard activity. It is carefully planned, hence, it is systematic.
o Education is an influence exerted by a mature person upon an immature person. Education involves one who knows and the one who doesn`t know. Mature persons which include parents, teachers and other elders influence the young one—the learners.
o Education leads to harmonious development. Education is a complex process. Its aim is harmonious development of the learner`s personality. This means, through the process of education all aspects of the child`s personality— physical, intellectual, aesthetic, social and spiritual should develop together in perfect harmony.
o Development is according to individual and social needs. The development should be according to individual needs. But the social needs of the society.
o Education is a means to an end. Education is a means to the final end. It is through education that the individual is to meet his creator and attain salvation.
In the nut shell, education is a continuous, life long process.