We all start our lives with senses, reflexes, and learning mechanisms and when you think about it – if we lacked any of these capabilities, we would have trouble adapting to the world around us.
In contrast, we do not start our lives with information processors, mental models, memories, habits, routines, rules to follow or the ability to learn and acquire knowledge.
All of which are design elements for our education that allow us to behave and make quasi intelligent decisions.
School can be a useful channel for all of the above but it can also helps us make new connections that make us better thinkers, understand the way we think as an individual, develop our own unique way of approaching a problem, and allows us to experience and see things through filters or mental models.
These filters are usually developed through understanding the basics of physics, biology, chemistry, math, sociology, psychology, history and economics. The subjects that are in our core curriculum can be used as tools for us to better understand the world we live in. The more tools we have in our toolbox the better able we are to make incrementally better decisions and better understand when to follow and when to reject conventional wisdom.
When we view education as the art of developing an understanding of the world we tend to figure out how to understand more, whereas when viewed as work we tend to figure out how to do less. This could explain why we are more concerned with what material will be on the exam rather than what material will be valuable for situations we have encountered in our past or might encounter in our future.
“The purpose of adult education is to help them to learn, not to teach them all you know and thus stopping them from learning.”
– Carl R. Rogers