Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is a Good Education?

I feel that a good education is one that incorporates a well-balanced knowledge base that helps you not only survive the challenges of modern society, i.e. as in having job security (ha!), social aptitude, personal advancement, but also the be equipped with the language skills that enables one to articulate thoughts well and to many professions in all walks of life. Speaking of language skills, that was one heck of a run-on sentence! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Education – is it lost in the details?

As I reflect on my education, general as well as musical, I think back on all the things that I have forgotten. As students, we sit in class as the professor lectures on topics that at the time seem pedantic. I remember thinking, “let’s get to the good stuff”. Little did I realize, that WAS the good stuff.

With so much to learn, little did I understand that EVERYTHING in class was the “good stuff”.  Understand, I’m not saying that educational pontifications are not appropriate. I have given many lectures that have likely sent many mindful undergrads spinning in his/her seat…unintentionally of course. My thought here and now is that there is so much to teach/learn that it’s difficult for the student to absorb it all – so points of significance can easily be lost among the details during the lecture. When someone tells you one or two important points, you tend to remember them. When someone tells you 30 important points, you tend to forget them…all.

I know that I lost moments of great educational enlightenment just because I was over inundated with details. Do we change the way we teach/learn? Educators have been asking this for generations with some success.

It is well known that different people learn in different ways. We are not all the same and we all respond to different approaches. Some understand material better by reading about it, some by hearing about it, some by experiencing it, and others by watching someone else experience it.

I believe that the most effective teachers apply these different learning methods so they may educationally reach as many students as possible. Likewise, it would help students to recognize what their optimal learning process is and seek it out when possible. Try not to lose the education in the details – strive to catch the details as part of the greater picture. Proper education is a shared responsibility between the teacher and the student.