“Education is not preparation for life: education is life itself.” – John Dewey
We often hear educators speak of “life-long learning” as a new concept in our schools today. We want to instill in our students a desire to grow as learners and to embrace a growth mindset. We want today’s young people to have internal discipline and drive to keep learning long after graduation. We have a belief that the world is changing rapidly and the skills we are imparting in our students today are only a foundation . . . that students today will need to continue to adapt and adjust to a changing world around them as adults.
John Dewey was an educational reformer whose ideas have influenced our educational system today. John Dewey was born in 1859 and died in 1952. In 1902 Dewey wrote in his book The Child and Curriculum that educational structures must “strike a balance between delivering knowledge while also taking into account the interests and experiences of the student.” (Dewey, 1902, p. 16). Does this sound familiar?
Every generation has embraced the productive discomfort of change. Each generation feels the struggle between the value of the past and the growth mindset required for future success. For us, many of our values are in our unchangeable-core. In our heart-of-hearts we know that today’s education is simply the foundation.
Yes, the amount raw information available today is mind boggling. We are astounded at the speed at which fact, figures, and data are available in the palm of our hand holding an iPhone. Information is shared like never before . . . the world certainly feels flat to many. Nevertheless, many things in education haven’t – and shouldn’t change.
The teacher is still the most important aspect in any classroom. We will never replace great teachers with technology. Technology is merely a tool to provide education more efficiently and effectively.
Students still need a strong, solid foundation on which to build, think critically, and problem-solve. We must find that balance between knowledge, interests, and experiences.
Education has never been preparation for life . . . it is the foundation for life itself. The education we are providing students is the base for future success. Life is learning . . . and that will never change.