Sunday, January 04, 2004

Educational Ideals

Aidan expresses some good educational aspirations, which are not well achieved by the prevailing educational system.

This raises the question - is there a system anywhere that achieves anything remotely similar to these aspirations? It is possible that we might find a system whose official purpose was something entirely different.

In the past, educators (both in schools and in management training) have discovered that some aspects of personality and character can be developed in activities outside the classroom - perhaps the sports field or some outward bound adventure. The education system has then tried to incorporate some of these activities in the curriculum.

But what happens to these activities when they are given a new context, and an explicit educational purpose? Do they remain as effective at the development of character?

At the same time, activities that were central to my own experience of university life (such as political debate) have nowadays been pushed aside as non-essential, a waste of time and a distraction to study. However, activities such as these undoubtedly helped many people to develop some critical intellectual and communication skills, skills from which many of today's students would benefit.

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