Is education necessary?
In line with Dewey’s writing regarding education, (39) there is a large notable distinction between inanimate things and living, in that lifeless things react from forces, which have to be grater than the resistance involved. They are not able to react against the forces to change the outcome. Living things have the ability to endure or struggle to make use of the adjacent energies such as light, materials or air to control any unfriendly forces.
If the living being is able to subjugate forces, then considering life as a self-renewing process through the reactions against environmental factors can maintain the process or keep renewing it indefinitely. This continuous renewal is growth. Research considers many aspects regarding education as growth such as possibility of existence of conditions that promote further advancement or one that shut off a person who has grown in a particular direction from advancing to another new direction. (Dewey, 2008, 29)
Thinking of life in the sense and principal of continuity through renewal, it applies that there is some literal facts over renewal of social groups. A person is born without any knowledge, language, maturity, belief, ideas or social status. There is necessity to indicate interest, information, skills and practices to form a characteristic life.
Civilization has brought great significance regarding capabilities such as enjoying social life as a transmission just like biological is. This is achievable through communication, thinking and reacting from feelings. The ideas, expectations, hopes, standards, opinions, between social groups would not survive.
According to Krueger and Mikael on Education for Growth (1126), the state where a member group educates the new groups is directed by personal interest rather than social or work necessities. It is possible to make the transmission of ideas and practices achievable by the fact that passing knowledge is progressive such that the gain is gradual day by day.
If all members of a society perished at ones, then obviously knowledge gain of the next generation would be zero because transfer occurs from one generation to another.
It is factual and logical that there is great difference between communication and community but they both influence knowledge gain as growth. Community is the setting under the virtue that some resources are commonly used and communication is the way through which these resources are used.
Bearing in mind this differences then one can classify the resources as believes, aspirations or knowledge and therefore the physical existence is not a necessity. Living in close physical proximity does not guarantee participation or common understanding. It is possible to achieve comparable emotions or intellectual characters for instance how to respond to anticipations and requirements through reading books, mails or any other media resource. The physical separation does not compromise transfer or gaining of knowledge.
Formation of social groups not only occurs because of existing common goals, but also through consensus. Making machines to work towards achieving certain goals will never make them consult to find each other’s needs and purposes. In such situations, consensus will never exist. Groups may lack social relations, the individual may use each other to achieve results but without reference to intellectual or emotional consent, then the process of knowledge gain is physical.
As long as the relationship between supplier and recipient of information only involves exchange of skills, response, technique or command of tools both mechanically and economically, then there exist no true social group.
Exchanging orders alters actions or results but rarely affects sharing purposes or transfer of interest. In accordance with Fiske (48), the genuine social life is therefore identical to communication and thus educative.
One should formulate experience and modify attitudes before communicating. Formulation calls for having a different perspective to appreciate meaning. The communicator must catch phrases, assimilate them imaginatively to tell the experience intelligently. Any social or shared arrangement is educative, enlightening, simulative and enriching to the imagination. Inequality to a form that is easily communicable and usable.
People acquire this kind of education through living with one another. In this case, education is incidental, natural and important. “the measure of the worth of any social institution, economic, domestic, political, legal, religious, is its effect in enlarging and improving experience; yet this effect is not a part of its original motive, which is limited and more immediately practical.” (Dewey, 2007, 9)
Religious associations cane to existence with the desire of gaining the favour from the overruling powers, to get rid of evil influences, to satisfy family lives, ensure family perpetuity remains safe and sound and ensure systematic labour to avoid entailed enslavement. These gradual changes were evident on the quality life and a directive factor over conduct of the institution. Today human intellectual or emotional reactions receive less concentration compared to the physical output.
According to Dewey (10), Association is important for young ones but this must be within developed social groups. Children are able to learn through direct pursuit of their elders because of the difference in occupations. Formal education entails directly sharing meaningful tasks through prior training. Formal teaching entrusts special groups/persons with the aim of delegating unique or complex resources and achievements.
Informal education pertains personal and vital sharing directly or vicariously while formal is abstract, symbolic, technical and superficial. In low grades, the accumulated knowledge ought to practiced or transmuted to character or meaning of urgent daily awareness. Informal data that has not been part or structure of social life remains symbolic or technical information conspicuously in schools. (Dewey, 2007, 39)
One of the biggest problem philosophy of education has to face regard the act of balancing formal and informal education and intentional and incidental methods of education. The society determines its future through by addressing that of the young. The young generation is the society’s future.
The type of activities children engage with during their early life determines the future of the society. Argumentatively as Fiske (10) put it, growth is the aspect of basing the cumulative achievement through childhood en route for some future results. The basic condition that determines growth is immaturity. This does not imply absence of power, but existence of forces that positively provides chance for growth.
Physical effects on education as growth
People tend to take immaturity as deficiency of power while growth as what fill up the gap between the maturity and childhood. We regard childhood comparatively as opposed to intrinsically the standard measure being adulthood. Comparative may be legitimate but it might bring guiltiness due to conceited conjectures.
The assumption has serous consequences because of considering fulfilled growth as accomplished. The assumption may bring out the feeling that adult life has no growth. Immaturity can allocate some positive ability if considered absolutely instead of comparatively.
Absolute consideration implies that children already have the eager and passion to learn and this growth is something that will come from them. Dependence and gracefulness are two main attributes of immaturity. Getting help from others does not promote growth of skills it restrains potency. Dependence promotes growth if considered as a positive aspect or power as opposed to helplessness.
A child is physically weak and cannot convert its strength to something that helps it to tackle worldly problems. Unlike animals whose ability for growth is physical contributions, human beings infants mainly depend on the social capabilities to promote growth. Human reaction from talks or thoughts is able to equip them with the tool of social intercourse.
Native mechanism of a child tends to be simplistic over social responses. Children have the ego of self-centeredness, which is therefore against adult’s ego because what the children consider to be of ample importance, to the adult its not, it probably ceased to be of their interest long ago. (Dewey, 2007, 41)
Social dependence indicates power or interdependence as opposed to weakness. Increased personal dependence means more self-reliance or self-sufficiency but this may decrease the social capacity and hence lead to unfriendliness and indifference. People are suffering because they have become very insensitive in relations with others or lone rangers.
Adoptability of people for growth depends on their ability to learn through experience for the sake of latter situations or problems. Growth is therefore power to modify results of an action with regard to prior experiences to tackle later situations. Without such powers, the ability to acquire habits would be impossible. Human beings are born with huge amounts of instinctive reactions as an original specialized power of alteration that secures instant efficiency.
The ability to retain or carry on prior experiences to modification of consequent activities is a significant way of indicating the ability to acquire, develop and retain definite authentications such as habits. A habit can be termed as an ability to use ordinary circumstances to meet the needs. Habits entail controlling the organs of action in the environment. Measure of value of specialized skills or characteristics that people have such as playing a piano depends on the economical and effective control of the environment in which they are.
These habits affect adjustment of an individual or environment but their acquisition does not apparently define education. The definition of education expresses an essential part of growth but adjustments ought to be controlling measures to achieve goals. Habit is a change that affects subsequent changes in the environment. In relation to Dewey’s writing over Education as growth (2007, 42), the environment is fixed but people adjust to fit the environment.
Another argument is habit being habituation such that people get used to the environment through personal changes but not modification of the environment. Habits entail using something to get used to it. Habituation is the adjustment for environmental conditions, which at times we might not be interested in modifying.
Men have habits, which enables them to adapt to certain conditions and transform the environment. For ease in adaptation, one must accept, tolerate and get social contacts or active controls of the used subject. It is not easy to exhaust the significance of a habit because it entails the formation of intellectual and emotional characteristics.
Any habit is a reflection to preference and choice for the conditions involved. It actively seeks acquaintance with materials and equipments of an occasion or action, to pass into full operations. “Above all, the intellectual element in a habit fixes the relation of the habit to varied and elastic use, and hence to continued growth”. (Dewey, 2007, 44)
A fixed habit means a fixed hold upon routines or way of action. They are opposed to conclusions or the deliberation to decision making. Acquisition of habits entails the ability to change the responses until one achieves appropriate and effective results.
Education is development and everything depends on development. Considering life to be growth, this notion then implies that education is life. Fiske, (13) Education has no end and we ought to consider it as a continual reorganization, reconstruction and transformation. When considered in comparative terms of special trait of adult or child life, education is development.
It involves “formation of habits with executive skills, definiteness of interest and specific objects of observational and thought.” (Dewey, 2007, 46) Children have specific and special powers for growth. The adult will use power to transform the environment, thus promoting new stimuli that redirect power to continual development. Growth is not a movement towards a certain fixed goal but has an end.
The adult environment is a standard for development of the child. The power of growth depends on flexibility of the environment to accommodate learning through experience and formation of habits and needs for others. As a background for growth, a habit helps one to be in charge of environmental powers for various human purposes and general persistent balance over organic activities and surroundings. Habit is the ability to readjust activities to meet new conditions and therefore considered to be growing.
Active habits involve thought, invention and initiative as the basis for new goals as opposed to routine that is an arrest of growth. Growth is a characteristic of life that defines education as a process without an end. The value of education is the extent it creates on the desire for continued growth. Educational and cultural renaissance is therefore the voice of a labouring child.
Dewey, John. Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education. New York, NY: NuVision Publications, LLC, 2007
Dewey, John. Experience and education New York, NY: Kappa Delta Pi, 1998
Fiske, John. Excursions of an evolutionist, Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008
Krueger, Alan B. and Lindahl, Mikael. Education for Growth: Why and For Whom? Journal of Economic Literature Vol. XXXIX (December 2001) pp. 1101–1136