Understanding Knowledge/ Education

Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education — Martin Luther King

Education, as we understand it, is a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery. It is, as John Dewey (1916) put it, a social process – ‘a process of living and not a preparation for future living’. It is, to bring out or develop potential. Such education is:

  • Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
  • Informed, respectful and wise. A process of inviting truth and possibility.
  • Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.

Education – cultivating hopeful environments and relationships for learning. It is often said that we are learning all the time and that we may not be conscious of it happening. Learning is both a process and an outcome. As a process it is part of living in the world, part of the way our bodies work. As an outcome it is a new understanding or appreciation of something.

In recent years, developments in neuroscience have shown us how learning takes place both in the body and as a social activity. We are social animals. As a result educators need to focus on creating environments and relationships for learning rather than trying to drill knowledge into people.

Education is intentional. Education is deliberate. We act with a purpose – to develop understanding and judgement, and enable action.