What is school for?

“What is school for?”, it sounds like a simple question, but what I had an answer is to learn some knowledge and do a good man, including obeying laws and moral rules. Seth Godin just broke my idea into pieces and dragged me into thinking about the question deeply. What is the real purpose of the school? He gave several points for the question. I can’t remember all of them. One of answers is to teach your kids how to connect dots but not ask them to remember the facts. The idea really helps me realize how you can get freedom in studying. Recently, I read a blog which talks about the freedom of schools. In that blog, the author advocates that students should be cultivated have independent thinking and skepticism spirits in learning. To be more essential, if we want to pursue the truth, we need to have the courage to challenge existing results in a rational way but not always follow up and only say “yes”. His another answer is to educate students to persist in your own idea in front of a skeptical authority figure. It may not be a short-term stand but be a long-term strategy to convince others about your opinions.

Based on the above arguments, we know school is not an engineer factory. For different students, there will be unique ways to guide them but not only in a stereotypical way. I knew it was impossible for school to implement the practice currently after considering the cost and effort. But for faculties, they can have the sense to help students open their mind to define themselves. For students, they should keep them being innovative and eager to the truth but not only the knowledge from the textbook.

About qzhilei

The 2nd year PhD student @BIT department!
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8 Responses to What is school for?

  1. Ayesha says:

    Seth Godin ‘s point about connecting the dots really resonated with me as well. I don’t think that students are taught the skills to connect the dots between what they learn and what they read especially in undergraduate classes (I know I am making a generalization but it happened to me way to many times, in fact it still happens in grad classes). After reading this I have already started to think in the ways I can use this philosophy when I teach.

  2. A. Nelson says:

    I agree with Ayesha, and would add that Parker Palmer’s perspectives on the skills and practices we need to cultivate are essential to the recasting of “what schools are for.”

  3. Jacob Metch says:

    I agree with everyone here. Connecting the points and not just memorization is key to lasting education. I think that is something this class has taught us a lot about. Different techniques to engage and teach students should help them connect dots. Especially techniques like problem-based learning, and incorporation of ethics into teaching.

  4. Casey Bailey says:

    I concur, students lack the necessary strategies to connect the dots or either their misconceptions haven’t been clarified, so it becomes difficult to connect the dots. I agree, learning and memory consist of practice, recall, exposure, and elaboration, in which sometime students don’t get enough of to strengthen both memory and cues over an extended time period.

  5. EmilyG says:

    Great post – I agree. I think there is also something to be said for gaining self confidence in your abilities through the “connect the dots” approach. It’s easy to doubt your own knowledge when it is all built on memorization, but knowing, as a student, that you have the ability to think through problems and reach your own solutions can be empowering.

  6. akin01 says:

    Great post. But we have to also ask the question of what the student hopes to gain from a school. Some just want to explore the theoretical limits of some field regardless of financial gain while others see it as a necessary step to making a lot of money. But schools are not designed to be fluid and meet everyone’s needs hence the problem of most schools being setup to cater to a few ideal students while the rest drone along.

  7. Rabih says:

    Thank you for your post. I liked your post and I agree with what you said. Students should be taught how to learn and look for the truth, not just learn facts that they might forget later. They should be stimulated to get creative and innovative because they’re excited about the material and they love it, not because there is an exam that they should pass.

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