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True Education and the Path to Wisdom

Education is a slow process. There can be no shortcuts to a true and valued education. The acquisition of knowledge is not something to be confused with education. Factual learning and the development of knowledge-based learning is relevant in the process of acquiring an education, but this is merely a step in a process that never ends. The pursuit of knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge can at times be more ornamental than anything else, yet oftentimes is still coined, or regarded, as education.

True education extends far beyond the acquisition of knowledge, and is more than vocational training or preparation. Much of modern day forms of advanced education are vocational training that is essentially more or less un curso de milagros preparation to qualify a student for entry into a particular career field. This too is oftentimes regarded as education, however, true education, similar to the acquisition of knowledge, is much more than this.

The acquisition of professional or vocational training through institutions of higher learning is driven by the desire or intent to “succeed” in modern society through means of professional advancement and accomplishment. Material effects, tangible results, numbers, and power, however, determine such advances, and forms of professional success. An education that concentrates emphasis on such outcomes, or is in such a way goal orientated, is not in line with what might be referred to as a traditional or classical form of education.

Modern education is easily compared to a business whereby the objective is to teach efficiency according to the capitalist code of social function. In this sense education is being used as a means to a certain end, rather than according to the more classical and traditional intention un curso de milagros en espaƱol of aiding an individual in personal development and human growth intended to discipline the mind and ennoble the spirit.

What is typically considered to be education by modern standards is more often than not that which is geared toward success and profit, which translates into social image and status, which is then used to convert social groups into a certain form of belief system. This is not the true definition of education. This is formalized training. Compared to classical subjects such as philosophy, the study of science, medicine, and most recently trade and commerce, or business, as education are relatively new forms of what are commonly accepted as education.

True education, however, transcends all categories and subject areas that are taught, practiced, or trained. It is a way of life. It is an approach to living; a way of thinking and operating that comes from a slow maturation over time. As there are no short cuts in education, it is not so much what you have studied, and what you have learned, so much as it is what your studying and learning has taught you about yourself, life, the human condition, and moral values.

What in modern society is today considered formal education should, ideally, only be considered an introduction to a person’s true education. The pursuit of understanding and the continued application of what one has learned in his or her own life and mode of living are a form of true education. It is something that if continued throughout one’s life carries the potential to yield the most precious results that are to be offered from the pursuit of education itself.

True education is a combination of how a person approaches life, lives their life, values their life, and learns from their life’s experience. Knowledge can be deceiving. True education must involve a form of self-mastery, whereby there exists a result that impacts behavior. The pursuit of knowledge may often be ego-driven, and a side effect of vanity. Knowledge or professional training, regardless of the field, do not necessarily equal education. Education is more a form of behavioral reform that arises from introspection, self-analysis, and understanding, which can only truly take place slowly, over the span of an entire lifetime.

t was just really nice to hear that there is a developing alternative method available for people to avail of education even outside the school premises. It was interesting to witness that the world has really been on its track towards globalization and progress. I agree that technological advancement is one of the most evident proofs for almost everyone. I believe that the development of distant education is on its way to being widely accepted by both students and educators because of its inherent and obvious benefits for parties (students and teachers), the government and the business sector. My stand is that distant education, online education, or interactive education, whatever anyone prefers, as an alternative method of knowledge acquisition cannot and should not replace traditional classroom education even if it be an indication of the world’s progress.

Andrew Feenberg, in his article entitled “Reflections on the Distance Learning Controversy” has clearly shown favor for the online education as one of the pioneers of such program. His admiration for the purpose of the program is so obvious when he said that “the virtual classroom was a place of intense intellectual and human interaction” (A. Feenberg). I am personally in favor of pursuing distant education, knowing that such method can help a lot non-traditional students. It maybe possible that “intense intellectual and human interaction”, as Feenberg claimed, can happen in online education. This is so because intelligent and smart students can be found anywhere else in the world, regardless of their nationality and age, as well as teachers. I also agree that such kind of students can be shaped by online education but like traditional classroom learning, the case is relative. I said so because learning depends on how eager and dedicated students are.

For Feenberg to say that “the quality of these online discussions surpasses anything I have been able to stimulate in my face-to-face” is something I would have to strongly disagree with. Feenberg spoke of his personal experience as an online teacher. The bias here is that not all teachers find the same thing. Linda Sweeney, in her article entitled “Guidelines for Being a Good Online Student” expressed her frustration in having students with bad learning habits who are to be kept reminded of their schedules. The obvious factor here is attitude. One problem with online education is the attitude of instructors, students, and administrators (D. Valentine). The quality of education depends on how the parties involved behave towards online education and how much importance do they place on the program. As one Professor stated, “The students’ interest, motivation, questioning, and interaction must be on display throughout the learning process” (A.Arsham). As with the traditional classroom lectures, students and teachers interaction is vital in the learning process. The personal exchange of information and views are indications that both parties are interested on what they are discussing about. When students make queries or clarifications on the lesson, it means that students are taking things seriously.

Face-to-face class discussion has the advantage of on-the-spot monitoring of those who are showing interest because the students and teachers are physically with each other at the same time and at the same place. This means that checking the students’ attitudes is immediate. This is hardly possible with distance learning where teachers have to do time-consuming e-mail just to remind students of their schedules. So Feenberg cannot absolutely claim that online discussions can surpass that one done with face-to-face. It is however admirable for Feenberg to admit that distance learning systems cannot replace face-to-face classroom education, as he stressed in his conclusion.

Another vital consideration in the issue of distance learning is the cost involved, which, Feenberg did not fail to pay attention to. While the author enumerated the benefits of distance learning, he did consider that “distance learning is not going to be a cheap replacement for campuses” (A. Feenberg). In his discussion, he looked into the interests of the parties involved relative to the cost of online education: the government, corporations, teachers and students. Feenberg’s idea was that the government is interested in cost reduction for educational expenses while the corporations which are to provide the resources are obviously interested with sales and earnings of which I agree with. So the main concern here is the difference between cost efficiency and cost effectiveness. As Doug Valentine quoted Atkinson’s statement: “it is possible for a program to be efficient but not cost effective if the outputs which are actually produced do not contribute to the program objectives: that is it may be efficient at doing the wrong things” (Atkinson, 1983).

With the actual cost of education as computed by Weber, the government does not actually have the assurance of achieving both cost effectiveness and cost efficiency. If the cost of training teachers, the cost hardware and software, human resources such as technicians and other people involved are to be considered, we can say that establishing online education is not as cheap as it may seem for others. Valentine stressed that “the costs associated with training technicians and instructors should not be overlooked”; citing the fact that online education requires a minimum of three persons in one setting compared with one instructor in a traditional setting.

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