Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Quotable Teacher, installment 8

'Education' is not a concept that marks out any particular type of process such as training, or activity such as lecturing; rather it suggests criteria to which processes such as training must conform. One of these is that something of value must be passed on. Thus we may be educating someone while we are training him; but we need not be. For we may be training him in the art of torture. The demand, however, that there should be something of value in what is being transmitted cannot be construed as meaning that education itself should lead on to or produce something of value. This is like saying that ... reform must lead up to a man being better. The point is that making a man better is not extrinsic to reform; it is a criterion which anything must satisfy which is to be called 'reform'. People thus think that education must be for the sake of something extrinsic that is worthwhile, where as the truth is that being worthwhile is part of what is mean by calling it 'education'. 
R.S. Peters, "Education as initiation" (1965)

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