The Function of Education

Throughout my schooling journey, my perception of education and what it means has evolved. As a student, I used to think education was very black and white – you learned what the teacher taught in school, studied to do well, and eventually graduated with a university degree in order to get a job. As I’ve grown older however, I’ve realized that the purpose and meaning of education is not as simple and clear-cut as I once thought it to be. People now argue that the lessons learned in school are not the most valuable or applicable you will ever learn. A university degree no longer guarantees you a solid career. Education is continually changing and being tested, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it. The following quote by Martin Luther King Jr. explains the broader and more purposeful implications of education, and reflects my current views on the subject: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” To me, education is more than blind memorization. It is true learning that should serve the purpose of making a difference in the real world. We must learn to critically analyze the world around us in order to make beneficial decisions for ourselves and our future. If we have the ability to think critically, what doesn’t education make possible? In addition, what is education without character? The ability to think critically is of no good use if it is not paired with good character to make beneficial decisions. To me, the role of a teacher is to foster the development of critical thinking and honorable character in his/her students. The roles of school and curriculum should act as catalysts in this goal. School should encourage these principles, and curriculum should be a basis of knowledge, which can be continually challenged and altered. If education can be more prominently conceptualized in this way, we have the opportunity to build a better future for all.

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