Socrates warned his students over 2000 years ago that the unexamined life is not worth living. (Kreis) This statement, though made so many years ago, mirrors my own beliefs about learning and knowledge acquisition in today’s society. In my own personal philosophy of education, I believe that individuals must continually examine their surroundings and learn from the things they find. I do not believe that just knowing random facts or bits of information is true education. Just as the ancient Greeks believe, I think that education should teach a child to think and learn independently. The underlying purpose of an education should be to teach a child to think for himself.
According to the Socratic Method, educators must pull knowledge that already exists in a child from that child through a series of questions and answers. (Kreis) I also believe that the skillful use of questioning is extremely beneficial to students. Educators can use various questioning techniques to teach students “how” to think.
One of the chief reasons we should educate our children and continue to learn ourselves as teachers is made clear in the following quote found at http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philosophy-Education.htm#deMontaigne.Philosophy.Education and attributed to Einstein, .
...knowledge must continually be renewed by ceaseless effort, if it is not to be lost. It resembles a statue of marble which stands in the desert and is continually threatened with burial by the shifting sand. The hands of service must ever be at work, in order that the marble continue to lastingly shine in the sun. To these serving hands mine shall also belong.
Einstein believed that education had to be a continual process. We teach our children the history of the mistakes we have made as a society in order to prevent them from making those same mistakes. The growth of our society is dependent on the quality of the education we give our children. The better we prepare them through education, the more our society will flourish in the future.
Unfortunately, teaching children to think independently can be a very difficult task, especially in today’s educational system. We are expected to teach students to think independently and to follow the school and classroom rules at the same time to ensure order. With the set-up of American schools, often teachers have as many as 30-31 students in a single classroom; students must learn to comply with the rules that are in place to ensure order and safety. In addition, teaching of compliance helps students learn to live peacefully in society and follow the laws of the society.
We want to create individuals who strive for excellence in their personal and professional lives. The “educated” individual should also strive for excellence in their community. According to the website, http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philosophy-Education.htm#deMontaigne.Philosophy.Education, Plato said,
By maintaining a sound system of education you...