Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lifelong Learning

This is interesting: from The Professor or the Dialogue, by Mortimer Adler. I came upon it when I was looking for something quite different:

When you understand this, you understand something that is profoundly important to understand, which I am sorry to say our twentieth century and our generation has forgotten. None of our ancestors misunderstood this. You can take all the theories of education from the Greeks down to the end of the nineteenth century and no one made the mistake we make. Our contemporaries, our teachers, our students, our parents -- all of us think that education is something that happens in school. This is preposterous. It cannot happen there. Schooling is not education. Schooling is preparation for education. That is why I said let's use those words carefully.

Education cannot possibly be accomplished in school. No one in the past ever thought it could. No one thought that a boy graduated from school with a B.A. was an educated man, no one who understood that education consists in slowly, slowly becoming wise, acquiring a little understanding. No young man at the age of twenty could possibly be educated, no matter what kind of school he went to and what he did there. He could not possibly be wise or have much understanding or much insight. How could you talk about schooling as producing an educated man? The purpose of schooling is to prepare young people to go out of school and get an education thereafter.


Laura A said...

Whew! That explains a lot.

Beate said...

What a wonderful quote. I think I read Adler back in college when I was writing on un-graded schools? Now I'll have to see if they are indeed the same ;-) Good grief, thinking back I realize how little I knew then and how much there still is to learn now!!

Willa said...

Beate, I always wish I could comment on Sabine and your blog but xanga seems to dislike me.