Education is defined in the dictionary as an activity of acquiring knowledge through instructions or teachings. The bible in 2nd timothy 3:15-16 says “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scripture, which are able to make thee wise.” One should also say that it encompasses both the teaching and learning of knowledge, proper conduct and technical competency. It thus focuses on the cultivation of skills, trades or professions as well as mental, moral and aesthetic development. Education has two parts i.e. the formal and informal education. The formal education starts right from Nursery, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, or University level. This is why many parents prefer send their children to schools who, after ending those levels, they are qualified to become professionals in the various fields of Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Pilots etc.
While informal education is a general term for education that can occur outside of a structured curriculum, it encompasses students’ interests within a curriculum in a regular classroom. However it is not limited to that setting, it works through conversation and the exploration and enlargement of experience. Sometimes there is a clear objective link to some broader plan;but not always. The goal is to provide learners with the tools she or he needs to eventually reach more complex material. It can refer to various forms of alternative education such as unschooling, or home schooling, autodidacticism (self-teaching), youth work and informal learning.
In an article published in the media by Mr. James M on January 28th 2009 it was argued that education broadens one’s mind. ”It seems to me [education] gets used in a couple of ways. One sense is to expand the breadth of knowledge that one has or to explore a new field of knowledge. Another sense is to become more aware and accepting of points of view other than one’s own.”
It should also be noted that functionalist theory says education prepares children for the world of work. It helps them to develop their personal talents, discover who they are and provides skills and socialization.
Literature works in the news (published on October 31st 2016) says that the more we read, the more enlightened we become. Gaining knowledge empowers our minds and broaden its range. Similarly, literature in the news (published on August 25th 2016) states that reading broadens our imagination by stimulating the right side of our brain. It literally opens our minds to new possibilities and new ideas helping us experience and analyse the world through other lives.
Neuroscientists at Emory University discovered that reading fiction can improve brain function on a variety of levels. They found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s imagination in a way that is similar to muscle memory in sports.Lead Emory researcher Gregory Berns concluded that, ” At a minimum we can say that reading stories, especially those with strong narrative arcs, re configures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brain.”
In another development, a press release from Cambridge University by one Thomas George in 2014, discussed the founder and the idea of the National University constituting the American mind.
Also, an article was published by one Carl Bereiter on amazon (May 13th 2002) entitled ‘Education and mind in the knowledge age’. In this book, Carl Bereiter – a distinguished and well known cognitive education psychologist- presents what he calls ” a new way of thinking about knowledge and the mind”. He argues that in today’s knowledge age, education’s conceptual stools are inadequate to address the pressing educational challenges and opportunities of the times. He adds that two hinges are required. First is to replace the mind as container metaphor with one that envisions a mind capable of sustaining knowledgeable. intelligent behavior without actually containing stored beliefs.Second is to recognize a fundamental difference between knowledge building and learning -both of which are essential parts of education for the knowledge age. Connectionism, in cognitive science, addresses the first need. Certain developments in post positivist epistemology addresses the second.
The author explores both the theoretical bases and the practical educational implications of this radical change in view point. The book draws on current new ways of thinking about knowledge and mind. This includes information processing, cognitive psychology, situated cognition, constructiveness and connectionism, but does not adhere strict to any ”camp”. Above all, the author is concerned with developing a way of thinking about the mind that can usher education into the knowledge age. The book was intended to get straight to the point.
In a related development, Professor Howard Gardner (a professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who has authored over twenty (20) books and several hundred scholarly articles) in an interview with ‘Mind Matters’ editor Jonah Lehrer on his recent book, entitled ”Five minds for future” says that it offers some advice for policy makers on how to do a better job of preparing students for the 21st Century.
In nut shell, education trains students not only for white collar jobs but also broadens their mind to fit in a society.