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Education versus schooling: why we need more education and less schooling

In life the great educationalists have sometimes made a distinction between schooling and education. The two - I teach my pupils - overlap but they's also distinguishable.

Schooling is an institutionalised form of education in which the material may or may not be relevant either to the individual pupils or to a generation of pupils even. Educational fashions come and go in schools and some get stuck in the institutional framework and become just part of the material 'to be delivered' whether or not they are having a positive or negative impact on pupils' thinking and lives. Sometimes character development dominates (which is healthy) other times exam results dominate (which is arguably less healthy). Particulars may be added to the curricula that are either redundant or outdated or too esoteric: I've watched grammatical cum linguistic analysis trickle down the years from degree to A-level to GCSE and now to primary schooling - pupils are expected to know some strange technical terms that really do not help make them better writers or (more importantly) expose them to the higher reaches of our language. In maths - and I recall this from my primary school days - we're all supposed to know what a dodecahedron is at the age of 10. After that - you never encounter them again. Was this a product of Victorian fascination with Platonic solids? Or language teaching has shifted away from adaptive understanding and conversation to tourist phrases to be learned by rote - leaving many A-level students struggling to form sentences in French, etc.

Education is different. Education - from the Latin educare to lead out - involves drawing out of the pupil that which is in. Socratic in leaning if you know your philosophy, but from our point of view - individualistic in temperament and process. Education is about what engages this pupil's interest (rather than what engages the interest of those distant academics who create curricula): to draw out from the pupil that innate purpose and passion is what fires me as a tutor. I love discovering the quiet passions that bubble away privately and begin to help the pupil own them and let the purposeful voice grow louder. It helps us make more sense of their current schooling - why certain exams are useful, why certain grades may be appropriate: removing from the one-size fits all to educating and tutoring and mentoring this here individual awakens the sleeping giant (to borrow a Tony Robbins analogy) and to behold the eyes twinkling is as joyous as seeing the planet Venus on a clear horizon.

That is education. When our schools 'get that' - they educate and the pupils flourish and thrive; when they don't (partly or wholly) the pupils fall back into the quietening conformity that besets most of the adult population who suffer years or decades or even an entire life bereft of passion and purpose.

Our children are our future and their passions will ensure we will mature and age with capable and competent young ones around us who - if we educate them as well as school them - will create a wonderful life to behold.

Schooling for most people is a necessity. Logistics impose on the family life that home schooling is impractical (although if you live locally and need some advice - we work with home schoolers and are home schooling our children): but recognise the distinction between schooling and education and you'll be able to help your child (or yourself) learn more about the passion and purpose lying within. Go on - give it a poke, wake it up and see what you really want to do!

Article by Dr Alexander Moseley
Added Sun, 22 Nov 2015 20:29


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