Education is life! Education is not just a preparation for life, but it is life. That is what Eduard Lindeman wrote in his book The Meaning of Adult Education* in 1926. Eighty-five years later, I would have to agree with him. Education and learning is a lifelong journey. If you are going to do something for life, shouldn’t it be more fun. Why is it that so many people avoid education? In his book, Lindeman discusses a number of important educational themes to include the problems of our education. Our problems are not new, Dewey and Lindeman addresses them at the beginning of the last century.
Because of the amount of material, I am going to break it up into four or five pieces. I think you will find them interesting, and I encourage you to read the book.
Lindeman begins by comparing traditional education with how he believes education should be — naturally applied. Education is considered by many to be a preparation for “real life” and that you do not need education once you enter real life. Traditional education is something that has to be endured, and it typically turns off individuals once they have completed it. They do not want to further participate in education once they leave school. Many believe it is only for the young and it is not necessary for adults. However, individuals learn throughout their entire lives. Individuals who stop learning will rapidly lose what they had once learned. For individuals to succeed, they need to continue learning.
Lindeman believes we have taken something which is natural, and made it unnatural by sterilizing it. Life is not isolated subject learned independently. Life is a mixture of many subjects, experienced at the same time. Education should be enjoyed and looked forward to. He believes we need to explore different methods for educating.
Lindeman believes education is more than skills development, education is what gives meaning to life not just for the sake of knowledge. Lindeman adds that education continues where vocational training stops. Additionally, he points out that adult education is link to situations rather than subjects. Adults will learn when there is a problem to solve or an obstacle to negotiate. The focus of adult education is the learner’s experience. Learners develop by expanding on their experience. They gain experience by doing things, and reflecting upon the processes not through the rote memorization of subjects taught in silos. The curriculum must adjust to the student rather than the student adjust to the curriculum.
More to follow
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