This perspective paper is seeking to answer the question, “what is the purpose of education and how do you pursue and achieve that purpose?” The role of education is relevant to pursuing some purpose whether in K-12, Corporate Learning and Development, college and University settings, private or public education of adults, as well as homeschooling. This includes any setting or job title that considers the work is to bring knowledge, learning and development to another. And maybe other settings and audiences.
The standard answer to my question is most often stated as, “the role or purpose of education is to educate individuals within society, to prepare and qualify them for work in an economy as well as to integrate people into society and teach them values and morals of society. The Role of education is the means of socializing individuals and to keep society running smoothly and remain stable.”
That direct quote explains a lot about why we have the system and practices we have. “Educate people to make a living so they are not a drag on others and to fit in, so nothing is disruptive.” That is truly a depressing description offered in the four scholarly journals off of which I pushed my own thinking to prepare to write this paper. I refuse to cite them because I hope they are ignored. Just search “role of education” and see what you get.
I know that most people associate the word educator with professional teachers working in classrooms. Indeed, some educators are teachers, but the term is much broader than this in its meaning, and many of us play the role of educator in various aspects of our lives. I see myself as an educator in most settings I am in. I prefer to begin with something based on ideas more like this.
The root word is the Latin educare, which means “to draw out or draw through.” To educate someone is to draw out of them their inner potential for intelligence and wisdom. True educators don’t teach people what to think. Rather, they teach them how to think. Education is a process of disruption and liberation that enables students or learners to develop the critical thinking necessary to form thoughts and judgments independently. It is our primary resource for maturation and the development of agency.