Monday, March 28, 2011

The purpose of education?


Purpos/ed is is an on-line debate about the purpose of education. Throughout February and March 2001 a number of people offered to provide 500 words on this topic. This blog is my contribution

It is clear that all of the contributors that have posted thus far are passionate about education and the contribution it can make to the world.  One of the (dis)advantages of being near the end of this debate is that the exposure to everyone else’s brilliant thoughts leads me to the supposition that everything has been said far more eloquently than I could manage. So I offer this by way of something different -

Education sets you free,
To be who you want to be.
It gives you speech,
It gives you wings.
It helps you achieve
It moves you from
Your allotted place
It helps you to claim
Your unique space.
It moves you up
It moves you out
It helps you whisper
It helps you shout.
It’s the one true friend
You can call your own.
It can be a companion,
When you are alone.
It’s there for you
Whenever you need it
It’s always safe,
No-one can steal it
Those who seek
To dominate us
Aim to silence those
Who educate us.
To read, to write,
To think to know
Should be free to all
The fast, the slow,
The boys, the girls,
The young, the old,
The poor the weak,
The shy, the bold.
All we have been
And will ever be
Begins with this –

The ones who teach
Stay in our minds
The right mentor,
Is hard to find.
But when once found
The debt we owe
Is greater than
We ever know


  1. Thanks, Carol! I think there's more bound up in 'education sets you free' than we sometimes realise. I certainly can't imagine what both my psychological and material surroundings would be like without the education I've received. :-)

  2. Carol, I think your poem rocks!

    Education should set us free and it should allow us to achieve anything we can imagine. It 'is' our own unique treasure and it certainly keeps us from being lonely. Even those teachers that I didn't particularly get on with still have a place in my heart, for they did try to help me on my way and on reflection I was probably not an easy student to teach ;)

    Thank you for adding this breath of fresh air to the debate. Best wishes, Paul.

  3. Thank you for that, like you, Paul I have had teachers whose skills I remember even though their names have left me. The education they offered me certainly help me to find my own space I'd like to hope that I have inspired even one of my students - that would be so cool

  4. I'm sure you have inspired many :)

    Interesting insight though. It would seem from both our experiences that we are thankful for the help in skill development, but struggle to remember names and specifics in some cases.

    In my own example, there are certain teachers I remember much clearer, in fact I can remember individual lessons they taught, they were the ones that stood out, the ones who I'm really grateful to, they are the ones I'm now inspired by when I teach.

    The question I'm thinking about now is, was that the teachers personality and way of teaching or the topic that I enjoyed and was inspired by?

    As words get lost as time goes by, our greatest chance to influence students in a positive way is to create an environment where they feel special, where they feel they are being listening to and in some manner or form understood as human beings with dreams, inner passions and desires. They do not want to feel like a number that forms part of a statistical curve and more than we do.

    I'm guessing the education system, with all its joys and woes, affects different teachers in different ways too, which in turn will affect those students, of course. So perhaps there is a large element of luck involved, as to which teachers you get - interested to hear your thoughts on this...

    Anyhow, must push on... nice to have met you, and do feel free to stop by on my blog too ;)

    Good night.