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The​ ​Purpose​ ​of​ ​Education

Cindy​ ​Yu

“The​ ​goal​ ​of​ ​education​ ​is​ ​not​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​the​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​knowledge​ ​but​ ​to​ ​create​ ​the
possibilities​ ​for​ ​a​ ​child​ ​to​ ​invent​ ​and​ ​discover,​ ​to​ ​create​ ​men​ ​[sic]​ ​who​ ​are​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​doing​ ​new
things,​”​ ​said​ ​Swiss​ ​psychologist​ ​Jean​ ​Piaget.​ ​These​ ​words​ ​convey​ ​the​ ​thought​ ​that​ ​education
exists​ ​to​ ​advance,​ ​humanity​ ​and​ ​in​ ​doing​ ​so,​ ​also​ ​create​ ​a​ ​more​ ​content​ ​population.​ ​However,​ ​our
current​ ​curriculum​ ​does​ ​not​ ​allow​ ​for​ ​this​ ​and​ ​must​ ​be​ ​changed,​ ​as​ ​people​ ​spend​ ​more​ ​time
memorizing​ ​than​ ​learning,​ ​while​ ​standardized​ ​tests​ ​are​ ​way​ ​too​ ​prevalent​ ​in​ ​our​ ​world.​ ​We​ ​can
fix​ ​this​ ​by​ ​firstly,​ ​letting​ ​students​ ​pursue​ ​their​ ​own​ ​interests.​ ​Secondly,​ ​we​ ​must​ ​guide​ ​students,
and​ ​let​ ​them​ ​learn​ ​themselves.​ ​Thirdly,​ ​we​ ​must​ ​get​ ​the​ ​masses​ ​to​ ​challenge​ ​societal​ ​standards,
widely​ ​accepted​ ​facts,​ ​and​ ​challenge​ ​the​ ​media.
Most​ ​don’t​ ​do​ ​what​ ​they​ ​want​ ​and​ ​are​ ​not​ ​content​ ​with​ ​what​ ​they​ ​must​ ​study,​ ​which​ ​may
affect​ ​how​ ​hard​ ​they​ ​work​ ​and​ ​how​ ​they​ ​learn,​ ​which​ ​we​ ​must​ ​change​ ​so​ ​people​ ​do​ ​what​ ​they
want.​ ​Montessori​ ​firmly​ ​believes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​power​ ​of​ ​interest,​ ​which​ ​has​ ​been​ ​tested​ ​by​ ​other
credible​ ​educators.​ ​For​ ​example,​ ​Paul​ ​Silvia,​ ​the​ ​department​ ​of​ ​Psychology’s​ ​assistant​ ​Professor
at​ ​the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​North​ ​Carolina​ ​describes​ ​interest​ ​as​ ​an​ ​“approach​ ​urge”​ ​that​​ ​repulses​ ​the
urge​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​as​ ​we​ ​are,​ ​where​ ​things​ ​are​ ​familiar.​ ​Approach​ ​urge​ ​pushes​ ​toward​ ​learning​ ​new,
unexplored​ ​knowledge.​ ​When​ ​students​ ​don’t​ ​pursue​ ​interests​ ​and​ ​instead​ ​are​ ​forced​ ​to​ ​do​ ​what​ ​a
teacher​ ​tells​ ​them​ ​to​ ​do,​ ​they​ ​are​ ​not​ ​as​ ​invested​ ​in​ ​learning​ ​the​ ​material,​ ​become​ ​disinterested
and​ ​resist​ ​learning,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​material​ ​is​ ​not​ ​interesting​ ​to​ ​them.​ ​Even​ ​intelligent​ ​people​ ​may​ ​be
disinterested​ ​and​ ​thus​ ​labelled​ ​as​ ​slackers,​ ​or​ ​perhaps​ ​even​ ​labelled​ ​as​ ​someone​ ​dumb.​ ​This​ ​is
why​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​students​ ​should​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​their​ ​own​ ​courses​ ​to​ ​be​ ​in​ ​line​ ​with​ ​their
interests,​ ​like​ ​university​ ​or​ ​college,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​we​ ​should​ ​choose​ ​according​ ​to​ ​our​ ​interests
earlier.​ ​E.D​ ​Hirsch​ ​may​ ​disagree,​ ​saying​ ​that​ ​core​ ​knowledge​ ​is​ ​important​ ​for​ ​all,​ ​which​ ​I​ ​do
agree​ ​with.​ ​We​ ​could​ ​have​ ​a​ ​class​ ​in​ ​which​ ​basic​ ​core​ ​knowledge​ ​is​ ​taught,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​basic
geography​ ​and​ ​math.
We​ ​should,​ ​in​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​letting​ ​students​ ​choose​ ​their​ ​own​ ​subjects​ ​to​ ​study,​ ​let​ ​teachers
guide​ ​the​ ​students.​ ​Maria​ ​Montessori​ ​also​ ​notes​ ​this​ ​many​ ​times,​ ​and​ ​she​ ​said,​ ​“We​ ​teachers​ ​can
only​ ​help​ ​the​ ​work​ ​going​ ​on,​ ​as​ ​servants​ ​wait​ ​upon​ ​a​ ​master,”​ ​meaning​ ​that​ ​teachers​ ​are​ ​there​ ​to
assist​ ​the​ ​students,​ ​and​ ​let​ ​them​ ​learn​ ​themselves.​ ​Montessori​ ​notes​ ​that​ ​the​ ​child​ ​chooses​ ​their
work,​ ​works​ ​hard,​ ​and​ ​adapts​ ​according​ ​to​ ​their​ ​own​ ​wants​ ​and​ ​needs.​ ​The​ ​teachers​ ​must​ ​realize
this,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​must​ ​adhere​ ​to​ ​it​ ​as​ ​best​ ​they​ ​can,​ ​because​ ​only​ ​through​ ​students’​ ​own​ ​effort​ ​could
they​ ​learn.​ ​We’ve​ ​all​ ​seen​ ​people​ ​who​ ​have​ ​been​ ​babied​ ​by​ ​authority​ ​figures​ ​before,​ ​and​ ​through
this​ ​they​ ​become​ ​reliant​ ​on​ ​them.​ ​Too​ ​reliant,​ ​in​ ​fact.​ ​They​ ​may​ ​forget​ ​things​ ​they’ve​ ​learned,
because​ ​the​ ​knowledge​ ​handed​ ​to​ ​them​ ​did​ ​not​ ​stick​ ​out​ ​to​ ​them.​ ​Guiding​ ​children​ ​is​ ​imperative
to​ ​getting​ ​them​ ​to​ ​learn.​ ​Otherwise​ ​we​ ​may​ ​be​ ​creating​ ​passive​ ​learners,​ ​who​ ​are​ ​spoon​ ​fed
information​ ​to​ ​memorize.​ ​Memorizing​ ​facts​ ​and​ ​learning​ ​may​ ​be​ ​similar,​ ​but​ ​one​ ​requires​ ​the
information​ ​and​ ​time,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​other​ ​also​ ​requires​ ​info​ ​and​ ​time,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​also​ ​needs​ ​effort,
challenges,​ ​etc.​ ​This​ ​passive​ ​absorption​ ​may​ ​be​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​“Banking​ ​Education​ ​”​ ​This'll​ ​be
touched​ ​upon​ ​more​ ​in​ ​the​ ​next​ ​paragraph.​ ​Additionally,​ ​if​ ​one​ ​were​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​facts​ ​to​ ​a​ ​student,​ ​it
may​ ​become​ ​repetitive​ ​and​ ​boring,​ ​and​ ​then​ ​their​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​a​ ​subject​ ​may​ ​become​ ​lost.
As​ ​critical​ ​pedagogues​ ​have​ ​noted​ ​many​ ​times,​ ​media​ ​has​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​role​ ​in​ ​influencing
children​ ​and​ ​the​ ​youth,​ ​so​ ​we​ ​must​ ​combat​ ​any​ ​miseducative​ ​information.​ ​Critical​ ​pedagogues
have​ ​noted​ ​that​ ​advertisements​ ​have​ ​spent​ ​so​ ​much​ ​money​ ​on​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​indoctrinate​ ​the​ ​youth
and​ ​convince​ ​them​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​certain​ ​products.​ ​Blind​ ​patriotism​ ​is​ ​found​ ​everywhere,​ ​especially​ ​in
the​ ​news​ ​and​ ​sporting​ ​events.​ ​The​ ​media​ ​can​ ​spread​ ​false​ ​truths,​ ​leading​ ​to​ ​harmful​ ​views.​ ​E.D.
Hirsch​ ​wants​ ​core​ ​knowledge​ ​to​ ​be​ ​taught,​ ​however,​ ​this​ ​means​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​need​ ​to​ ​question​ ​the
media,​ ​widely​ ​accepted​ ​facts,​ ​questionable​ ​societal​ ​standards,​ ​etc.​ ​Banking​ ​Education,​ ​which
I’ve​ ​mentioned​ ​before,​ ​also​ ​relates​ ​to​ ​this,​ ​as​ ​Paulo​ ​Freire​ ​notes.​ ​Banking​ ​Education​ ​is
miseducative​ ​as​ ​the​ ​facts​ ​are​ ​decided​ ​in​ ​advance,​ ​and​ ​students​ ​can’t​ ​research​ ​things​ ​not​ ​part​ ​of
the​ ​the​ ​core​ ​knowledge,​ ​or​ ​critique​ ​it.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​compare​ ​this​ ​to​ ​the​ ​book​ ​1984​,​ ​in​ ​which​ ​the
masses​ ​in​ ​a​ ​dystopia​ ​learn​ ​through​ ​Banking​ ​Education.​ ​They​ ​passively​ ​absorb​ ​the​ ​facts​ ​given​ ​by
Big​ ​Brother,​ ​their​ ​government,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​are​ ​kept​ ​in​ ​the​ ​dark,​ ​unable​ ​to​ ​wake​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​truth​ ​of
their​ ​horrid​ ​existence.​ ​The​ ​past​ ​is​ ​constantly​ ​changed​ ​to​ ​fit​ ​Big​ ​Brother’s​ ​whims,​ ​and​ ​very​ ​little
people​ ​question​ ​the​ ​life​ ​they’re​ ​living.​ ​In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​this​ ​fate,​ ​we​ ​must​ ​get​ ​people​ ​to
challenge​ ​the​ ​status​ ​quo,​ ​media,​ ​societal​ ​standards,​ ​etc.
Education​ ​exists​ ​to​ ​create​ ​people​ ​that​ ​do​ ​what​ ​they​ ​love,​ ​which​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​advances
technology​ ​and​ ​makes​ ​life​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​live.​ ​To​ ​fix​ ​this,​ ​we​ ​must​ ​let​ ​students​ ​pursue​ ​their​ ​own
dreams.​ ​Then​ ​we​ ​must​ ​guide​ ​students,​ ​while​ ​letting​ ​them​ ​learn​ ​through​ ​overcoming​ ​their​ ​own
challenges.​ ​Finally,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to​ ​get​ ​students​ ​to​ ​question​ ​widely​ ​accepted​ ​truths​ ​and​ ​think​ ​for
themselves.