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Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Purpose Of Education In Life

It's hard not to question myself. I do it all the time, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. I end up talking myself out of doing things and taking chances. I got lucky and was sort of hit on the head with the realization of who I am. Before that, I was floating, unsure of myself because I didn't know who that was. I suppose everyone goes through that during their formative years.

One of the main reasons I got anywhere was my sense of commitment. It also made it difficult to start anything, because I would try to plan out the whole thing in my head before even attempting it. But I did do school well, really well. Academics was my commitment from an early age. I've since realized that that wasn't who I was meant to be, so I stopped after getting a B.S. at UCLA. However, after elementary, middle, high school and university, I've come to understand what school was for, at least for me. I think my understanding would benefit others and help avoid the frustration many have with academic education, so here goes.

School is a framework built to teach how to learn and how to communicate. At least up until grad school, the content of education, in and of itself, isn't as important as the structure. Every field of study ended up being another language, another way to communicate about humanity and our place in the universe. It seemed all academics basically sought to understand who they were and where they fit into life, but did that by focussing on just one framework of understanding. I characterize myself as mostly a "big picture" kinda guy, so the best pieces that I gleaned from different areas of study ended up being those that were new ways to learn and communicate about life as a whole, not those simply useful as independent frameworks. I think schools should begin to realize their place in people's lives as providers and facilitators of communication and understanding. The purpose of learning the 3 Rs is not just to learn them independently of each other and separated from all other aspects of a student's life, but to begin to provide students with a common language and way to learn about themselves and society. Tools, they're tools.

Pop culture is humanity's most immediate and purest communication of what it's about at any given time on a large scale. One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it's making more facets of our culture widely available more rapidly and generating more communication, which pushes our popular culture in new less explored directions. It's very inspiring to me and it's why I'm trying to be a part of it. Everybody's got something to say and school's job should be to facilitate that communication and others' understanding of it. The actual knowledge passed on is so much less important than passing on the ability to access and understand new knowledge. Hence, communication and learning to learn.

I think following this would create a more satisfying educational experience for everyone. Students wouldn't be made to feel inferior/superior to others by focussing so much on test scores, but instead would revel in being able to find out who they are in their own lives and to share that with classmates, receiving acknowledgement and understanding. Teachers wouldn't have to concentrate on regurgitation, but instead would get to use their subject matter to connect with their students' lives and help them relate to their own culture to future generations' cultures. Then students would have the desire to seek new knowledge and see how it can enable more understanding of life and a greater sense of belonging to the world.

I hope this ramble isn't ill-conceived. I certainly mean well. I'd like to think that communicating my viewpoint, sharing my passions, and being creatively productive is worthwhile. I value it in others. I do also seek acknowledgment and understanding, so please give me feedback, whether it be a comment here or an E-Mail or phone call. My E-Mail address and phone number can be found on the contact page if you:


Like all artists, I just want to be heard.

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