Lighting the Fire
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
--William Butler Yeats
I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for living.
I believe that education is the individual's constant, unimpeded search for meaning. It is a spiritual, intellectual, and social quest. Education is meaning derived from moments where ignorance and awareness collide. Education occurs when the individual recognizes his ignorance, acknowledges the lessons to be learned, applies knowledge, and perceives meaning. Education can free men and liberate minds. Ignorance imprisons hope and justice. An educated nation can fight against injustices prevalent throughout the world. I do not believe that education is confined to classrooms. Education is confirmed only by one's desire to learn.
I believe the function of a school is to teach students how to learn, how to think, how to analyze, how to be critical and creative, and how to find meaning in the world around them. The purpose of school is to equip students with the tools to become educated, participating members of society. "I want my children to understand the world, but just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so they will be positioned to make it a better place" (Gardner, 2000, p.180). American schools should promote democratic principles and develop responsible citizen who actively participate in their communities.
I believe schools must prepare students with the skills they will need for future careers in rapidly evolving industries. In the 21st century digital revolution, this key responsibility of schools has become even more critical. Successful schools must provide an academically rigorous curriculum that incorporates real-world relevance and opportunities for students to find meaning in and connections with the curricula (Daggett, 2009). Also, schools must foster relationships between student and teacher to understand the specific needs of the individual learner; between student and student to develop collaborative and reciprocal learning while reducing bullying behaviors; between student and community and industry to develop networks for future career goals; between teacher and teacher for share and improve upon limited resources; and lastly, between schools and academia to implement research findings.
Daggett, B. (2009) Relevance, rigor and relationships: Bill Daggett’s three R’s for American schools. Educator (Fall), 4-9.
Gardner, H. (2000) Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York, NY: Basic Books.
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