Training WheelsPhoto Credit: Dawn Endico

Why do we go to school?:

To learn skills that will help us succeed in life.

And after one has “completed his or her education”, what does one have to do for the rest of his or her life?:


Now, out of all the people who have completed their education, how many are successful at working at a job one can do until retirement?

If one is not one of those people, but has completed his or her education and followed everything he or she was taught, who or what is to blame?

Blaming does not solve anything but I will provide a solution after pointing out the second objective.

Job Interview

Photo Credit: bpsusf

In my post The Social Contract, I referred to a line from Book X of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics which states the purpose of life:

..what remains is to discuss in outline the nature of happiness, since this is what we state the end of human nature to be..

If that’s not true, surely life’s purpose is not to be sad.  Yet is it not possible to become unhappy with one’s life?

Do we know how long our lives will be such that happiness can be delayed?

So when should one give happiness a thought?

While I was always very in tuned with my own interests growing up, I had this notion that I always had to “follow” — whether it’s my parents or school.

And with an educational system inherited from Prussia, who wouldn’t get that idea?

Prussia Jena students Befreiungskriege Lützowsches Freikorps military

So, with that educational model, how would a child or student get the idea of happiness, the purpose of life?

Now, I will continue the discussion regarding the first objective.

There is nothing wrong with following.  Jobs require us to be able to follow instructions.

But is following all we need to do in order to be successful?

Here is what I propose to reform the educational system:

There should be a weekly class called Self-Knowledge & Free Thinking.  In this class, students are free to go to the library and/or use any learning resource that pertains to one’s interest.  Students are recommended to write their interests down in a notebook/journal so that they can refer to it and pursue their interests on their own when they can.  Students should also be encouraged to read the Classics and books from the Enlightenment since these are the foundations of excellence and quality learning.

I could have started on those books in junior year of high school, but maybe some could start earlier.

This would just be a once a week, non-graded class.  The rest of the education system can remain unless other improvements can be found.  There can still be tests, grades, assignments, etc.  The system does not have to be upended to be reformed.

But the fact remains — it must be reformed.

Learning does not stop after graduation, so what happens when no one is instructing us?

With our current education system, how many students who have graduated are able to succeed in life and learn without someone telling them what to do?

With the Self-Knowledge & Free Thinking class, students would have the opportunity to experience learning independently regularly so that despite having to follow instructions the rest of the time, they would know that they have the ability to learn on their own.

If this were to be tested by the department/ministry of education, I would suggest the class to begin at 4th grade.  Although I feel that high school students need this the most, I believe that if a high school student has already become jaded with the educational system, the class might not be as effective.  But with 4th grade I feel that it would be too early for a student to have become jaded and is the perfect time to start learning topics that the school is not providing.

I believe that with this idea, more people can experience happiness and achieve success.

The more support there is for this would show that this should be legislated.

Again, from my post The Social Contract, I noted that under heading B. Happiness of Nicomachean Ethics is:

9. Legislation is needed if the end is to be attained.


Photo Credit: Marc Wisniak

This entry was posted in Classical/Enlightenment Thoughts, Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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