LONDON — I have long been a fan of Alfie Kohn the author and professor. Earlier today he tweeted (yes, that’s a verb now) with a link to an article he wrote in 2003 called “What does it mean to be well educated?”
Like most things he writes I find it sets me to thinking about life and work. At one point he asks refers to:
the dispute between those who see education as a means to creating or sustaining a democratic society and those who believe its primary role is economic, amounting to an “investment” in future workers and, ultimately, corporate profits.
I am interested in the assertion because it raised a fundamental question about why we educate and how we educate. And even bigger ones about life.
I have often thought that education could be more practical… more vocational. I should have been taught how to fill in a tax return at one of the 9 schools I attended. Or maybe how to apply for planning permission or balance my chequebook (who’s got a chequebook these days anyway.) But instead I got a degree in English Literature. What good is that!?
Quite a lot, I have found but I don’t want to stray too far down that path.
What I find interesting is the question of whether school should train us to be good workers or for to be good people. (Kohn makes the point better.)
My question then is:
Are we human here to have a good life? Or are we here to be successful workers?
If you answered Yes and No then you understand what I am trying to say. But unfortunately those answers belie our behaviour, day by day, week by week and hour by hour.