If Children Are to Become Educated, What Must They Learn, and Why

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Education’s objective is to help people to learn the concepts of socialization and of citizenship into a society, ultimately preparing individuals for entry into the workforce. At the same time education fulfils a purely intrinsic need for edification. On every level, the purpose of education is that each and every person—both within the collective whole of humanity and individually as a vitally necessary and fully whole and contributing part—ultimately reach the full realization of what it means to be human.

The world around us consists of more than that which our five senses can detect (see, hear, feel, touch, taste) – i. e. the physical things. There are also those elements which we feel with our soul (our feelings and emotions), those which we sense around us (our perceptions and thoughts) and those in which we believe (God or a higher being) – i. e. the metaphysical. Awareness and knowledge of both the physical and metaphysical states is fundamental to making sense of our existence and should be incorporated into the education system.

It is not necessary for everything to be seen, or even understood, for it to be included in the curriculum and individual perceptions of the world around us will alter how we interpret our education. This makes some subjects more suitable for mainstream education than others. For example, whilst there is little physical evidence to support creationism, it is taught in religiously affiliated schools as opposed to science’s theory of evolution (Clark, 2013).

Curriculum development requires input from politicians, education boards, educational authorities, principals, teachers, parents and to a minor extent from the children themselves. It must consider the needs of society, and the members and cultures within that society. There are potential barriers to curriculum development and these must be balanced to avoid narrowing the exposure children are entitled to. Within every society there are divisions – intellectual, financial, religious and ethnic just to name a few.

These divisions must not unduly influence curriculum development, nor should the relatively new concept of being “politically correct”. The content of the curriculum must transcend these divisions, and focus on the concept of educating all people, rather than being concerned about a select few becoming offended at the inclusion of a particular belief, aspect or idea. Decisions about exactly what content is included in the curriculum must be justifiable – both morally and ethically – to provide transparency as to why some things have been included over others. Read about the weakest branch of government

The right to free speech, without causing intentional offense or disharmony, allows exposure to a rich educational experience, which encourages the learning of new ideas, and the revision / replacement of existing ideas. However, this must be balanced by time, place, manner and content appropriateness. Censorship and constraints may need to be employed, but only when they are educationally, morally or socially necessary. Children must be exposed to an education that will result in the graduating student being wholly educated and able to seamlessly integrate into society.

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