If you had to educate a rock, what would you need to do? This may seem like a ridiculous question, but as I continue to try and best define beliefs and practices — and eventually purposes — this simple frame is helpful for getting at the most foundational questions of what human beings do. It removes all contexts (i.e., empathy) by which you can compare what you (as a human) can relate to when trying to consider the perspective of a rock.
How do you define education? Is it the activities that take place in traditional school environments? Perhaps we need to define schools first. I define a traditional school environment as a system where humans are grouped according to the number of years they have existed (i.e. age) and levels of cognitive and physical development with a large margin for error with how the groupings take place according to this criteria.
Within this system then, focus is generally placed on academic development (what one learns). This can be either (or both) acquisition or building of knowledge. Academic development is also something that gets defined according to one's own epistemoligical belief structure, Schools also play a part in cognitive development (how one learns), physical development (the muscular-skeletal system via exercise, nutrition), social development (how one interacts with and understands other human beings), and emotional development (how one knows and negotiates his or her own personal feelings).
Going back to defining "education"... if education is the development of academic, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional properties of human beings, are these types of development only taking place (or only possible to take place) in traditional schools? Or are they developments that take place at all times but perhaps with a different level of intention within an organized structure (i.e., school)?
For the purposes of this blog post series, education is defined as the guidance of academic, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development in human beings that can take place anywhere and at anytime. The word "development" is used to describe the overall process. When defining education, it is then important to define the word "learning." Also for the purposes of this blog post series, "learning" is used to describe the process taking place within a human being within his or her development.
The next question then, is "why?" Why educate? For what purpose should a rock be guided in its development?
The question that follows that is: in what way?
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