What is Education?

This week is the first week of classes. Full classes that is.

Tuesday night I had my first social psychology class (okay maybe that wasn’t the full 3 hours but it was a nice introduction). My professor for that class asked some very interesting questions and made some equally interesting statements. A few them relating to education. One of the statements/questions was this,

What is education all about? Education is all about grades. Why can’t you just come to class and think?

I gathered what he meant by “think” was that why can’t students just come to class and just be their own. No, they have to sit there, absorb information, listen, retain information, read information, and then try to regurgitate it all at some point in some assignment or test soon or later to get that good grade.

Interesting enough. I agreed with him. Students are just wired to go to class on time, sit down in lectures, hand in assignments, receive grades. There is no checks in place to see if they actually understand or know why they are doing the work. I think that is a huge problem with education: people don’t know what good it is for especially when you can see other successful people who make it without any post-secondary education at all. In fact, some of the most interesting and most successful people I know only have their grade 12 education. So how do we convince young people, especially young Aboriginal people, the importance of education beyond just going to lectures, handing in homework, and getting good grades.

Well for one, education equals opportunity. I don’t think I would be able to do the things I have done so far in the past 5 years, and since moving London, if I had not gone back to school. Sometimes people ask me why I came London? I seriously had no plan in mind. I just came. In the end, I am glad I made such a move. I had the opportunity to meet new people, people with like-minded attitudes and people with like-minded attitudes help a lot. I also had the opportunity to work in some pretty interesting settings whether it was for volunteer or paid work because I was a student.

The one thing I learned is that people are willing to invest in you, if and only if you are willing to invest in yourself. And any financial officer/banker would say that is true. Most loans are only granted because of a certain amount of assets that reinvested into the loan on your behalf.

Education is investing in yourself.

But why is investing in yourfself important? It is important because it shows that you have control, devotion and most important power over your own self. It allows you to make your own decisions based on your own terms. Yes sometimes not all “self-investment” will be good investing, and this is a perfect example of my past summer employment. I was excited to be going to gain experience in the area of research, and that was research on Aboriginal people. By the time summer was over, I was stressed out, had learned what it meant to work in a “poisoned work environment”, and most importantly learned why it is now more important for young Aboriginal people to obtain higher education, not just because it is the right thing. For young Aboriginals, education is important so that we can have more Aboriginals working to benefit Aboriginal people and not just non-Aboriginals granting opportunities to Aboriginals.

Education, especially for young people and most specifically Aboriginal people, is about investing in your own self and gaining control and power over one’s own self. Education is investing in yourself.

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