Watching my two children speak French and English fluently at the age of 9 and 6, I marvel at the fact that we didn’t really have to teach them anything to learn to speak both languages, it just happened because they were exposed to both at home.
Children are naturally curious and inquisitive learners who from birth learn to stand, crawl then walk and talk without formal education. Does this mean that our nature is to learn and does it mean that the more we love learning, the more we do?
What are the implications for our educational system?
Educare or Educere?
Craft (1984) noted that there are two different Latin roots of the English word “education.” They are educare, which means ‘to train or to mold’ and educere, meaning ‘to draw out’. While the two meanings are quite different, they are both represented in our word “education.”
Is it one or the other or is balance possible in education?
Bass and Good (2004) state that there is thus an etymological basis for many of the vociferous debates about education today.
The opposing sides often use the same word to denote two very different concepts. One side uses education to mean the preservation and passing down of knowledge and the shaping of youths in the image of their parents. The other side sees education as preparing a new generation for the changes that are to come—readying them to create solutions to problems yet unknown.
One calls for rote memorization and becoming good workers. The other requires questioning, thinking, and creating.
Plato believed that knowledge lives within people and described this in the dialogue with Meno. He thought that we have knowledge inside us from the moment we are born, and that under the right conditions it came out. Plato attempted to prove his theory that all learning is really remembering in a famous experiment in which Socrates shows that a slave boy can prove Pythagoras’ theorem although he has never been taught it (1956: 130-9).
Despite having no knowledge of geometry, the boy, in conversation with Plato [Socrates], displays a sophisticated understanding. Plato argues the boy was born with dormant knowledge that, in response to questioning, was brought to life.
Bass and Good also said that a person who is schooled only to pass a test, however, is ill prepared to cope with today’s rapidly changing world. Something more is needed to make the student successful in today’s world.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree?
Should education ‘mold’, ‘draw out’ or be a balance of both?
Feel free to comment below.