These thoughts from the website infed, provided by Mark K. Smith from the YMCA at George Williams College, provide a great starting context.
Paulo Freire said education is a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery or, as John Dewey put it, education is a social process – ‘a process of living and not a preparation for future living’. This suggests that while there is a practical side to education, the learning expands beyond just a career focus.
The task is to educe (related to the Greek notion of educere), to bring out or develop potential. Such education is:
Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
Informed, respectful and wise. It is a process of inviting truth and possibility.
Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.
The article goes on to state that Inherent in education is respect. R. S. Dillon says when we respect something we value it enough to make it our focus and to try to see it for what it is, rather than what we might want it to be (Italics mine). It is so important that it calls for our recognition and our regard – and we choose to respond.
Maria Montessori, in her vision of ‘cosmic education’ puts appreciating the wholeness of life at the core. She says, “Since it has been seen to be necessary to give so much to the child (human being?), let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”
Mark K. Smith brought all of these ideas together when he suggested education is a process of inviting truth and possibility, and that it can be defined as the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life (Italics mine).
I find these thoughts about education just thrilling. This is what learning should be! The question this raises is why is this not everyone’s experience, why are we so struggling with learning, with educating our children and with our own personal expanding development? Add your thoughts to the comments and stay tuned for more around this topic.