Saturday, October 19, 2013

Don’t Let Schooling Interfere With Your Education

Mark Twain said that. Don’t let schooling interfere with your education. The idea behind this quote seems simple. There is a difference between institutionalized schooling and becoming educated. Or maybe more specifically, institutionalized schooling can get in the way of becoming educated.

My grandpa said the same thing but differently. People cannot be fully educated until they can make something with their own hands. My grandpa was a farmer. He was not a college graduate. But he could repair any mechanical system like a tractor or car. He could also repair living systems too, like his animals. Or even a child’s broken heart.

He was both schooled and educated. Having children still in school, I worried about their education. School is good at schooling. Educating, on the other hand, is lacking in school. To be successful in school requires successful time management – be somewhere at a certain time; complete a task by a certain deadline, etc. There is a premium on timeliness in schools. I guess time management is important, but is it related to becoming educated?

Our small family spent a few days in the Ozarks on the lake. The rental house sat right on the water and there was a dock just out the back door for fishing and hanging out. It was a bit too cold for swimming. My oldest son spent a lot of his time on that dock fishing. It was his first time specifically fishing for catfish. Fishing for catfish requires a particular strategy.

He was taught about different hooks, baits and how to set up and watch his pole. Also, there is much learning about what to do after getting a bite, bringing the fish in, and handling it so he or the fish are not harmed or more harmed. He caught several catfish and a couple turtles. I feel comfortable to say that he was well educated during those days on that dock. And the educational processes were exciting to him. He wanted to learn. He was up early and out the door each morning, learning and becoming educated.

This was not school – this was education. Had this been designed and carried out by his school with a project wrapped around it – I suspect…it would have…well…sucked! School would have killed the creative process of education. Who explains this better is Ken Robinson. If interested, please watch his brief discussion in link below.

Mark twain also said something like…the person who does not read is equal to the person who cannot read.  If you are like me, picky about reading, please let me recommend an outstanding book. Or better yet, and outstanding writer -- Malcolm Gladwell. He has written Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink, and his latest offering, David and Goliath. Any and all of those books are worth the investment. I have read every book he has written and just finishing David and Goliath.

As with his other books, I am sad to be nearing its end. He is my kind of story teller and educator. If you are interested in underdogs and education, these are the books for you – especially David and Goliath.

You don’t have to still be in school to continue getting educated. As a matter of fact, school might be the worst place for an education.  Read. And go do or make something. That's educational!
Peace, DAP

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.

Mark Twain

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