Everyone is sent to school to learn and pass GCSE’s. Then you can learn even more at college, and then, you can learn even more at university. All this learning can be used to get a job. However, is it to get a job that we learn or just for the experience of learning? What is the reason for learning?
Let us begin with the benefits of your final goal being employable. Someone who wishes to get a successful career needs to get good grades. Good grades can only be considered as a good thing. So with the goal of a job you will work harder to achieve more. However, if the grades aren’t met, even if you worked harder, then your goal will seem less achievable, meaning you will have to work even harder. Unfortunately, this is sure to lead to overwork, when you work too much to be of any use. So the goal of a job is fine if you are smart and can find balance.
But is learning for the experience better? Just like working hard to achieve your goals is good, there cannot be any problem with learning out of interest. Just because there isn’t a box to tick doesn’t mean you will not work hard. There is no enjoyment in learning if there’s nothing learnt to be enjoyed. There is another problem that arises from this though, there is no real goal. If you only learn because you like learning then how do you move on from learning?
I interviewed several people their opinions on the subject. I first questioned Hannah Lunn, who was doing A levels for a second time, “I chose my subjects because I’m interested, and will get me a job in something I enjoy.” Then I asked Adam why he was learning which he answered simply with “to get to uni.” The views of those who need to redo GCSE’s are quite different “Because I have to,” a view that’s not unexpected, but possibly saddening, “To get a decent qualification, to get a job,” was another quote I managed to gather.”Knowledge is power,” is a popular phrase that would point towards the collection of knowledge, although clearly knowing is not very “powerful” unless it’s put to use, so we must learn to get a job.
I have been looking at the situation from the learners view up to now, but often learning is containing a teacher. So when looking for the reason of learning we must also explore the ways of teaching. When I started this I was suggested to look at Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, specifically this part. Because of the talk about not giving grades, it’s definitely thought-provoking but, I’m unsure on how to add to it. It suggests not giving grades is good, however the end results gives the opposite impression. Despite the strange idea though, new knowledge can only come from uncertainty, unless you agree with Plato.
Generally the view from the educators side is: the system is wrong, somehow by giving grades and putting pressure on students to reach goals, kills creativity. The biggest question is then, how should we teach then?
If “grades kill creativity” then having the goal of becoming employable is actually harmful to your character. But the majority of people, see education as a way to get a career, so how can the fundamental point of learning be bad? If this view is to be believed then obviously the way we are taught must change. There are many different views on how and what we should teach, progressive education is the hands on approach. The idea that people can’t learn from what they’re told, but need to actively do what their being taught. Perennialism is the belief that only everlasting concepts should be taught. This begins with learning about people. Finally, essentialism is the traditional way of educating. Obviously, there are other ways of teaching and learning and these are just a few.
I hope I have opened your mind to the different ways of looking at learning. Possibly, changed how you intend to use, if you use, your education.I have learnt a lot whilst writing this so even if it achieves nothing, it is not a total loss. But again my view is not apparent here, at all. There are many ways of thinking about learning, but there is nothing that can’t be learnt.