Definitions Die Hard

Too often, we treat education like a thing, rather than like an ever-expanding idea.

What exactly is Education?

To my understanding, Education (let’s leave it as a proper noun for now) cannot simply be just some thing. It is not just some field of study or some product of a social institution. The problem with believing Education is just a "thing" is that we confine it to its very definition. And once we confine something to a definition long enough, people start to assume that if anyone suggests something contrary to the definition, it is an outright attack on what people have come to believe as true.

For example, if one mentions the word “education,” more often than not, it would conjure up thoughts of our current educational system – schools filled with classrooms, brick walls, grade levels, etc. This is because the large majority of Americans received some type of formal education at the hands of either a public school or a private school, or one that operated quite similarly to the two.

So, to even suggest we take a different approach towards Education in our city, state our country, may raise the ire of many who have come to believe that the way we’re doing it is inherently correct – because really, what other way is there?

Just because we share such a common experience, does it make that experience fundamentally right?

We all get mail from the US postal system, does that mean that all written communication should always be delivered through paper envelopes and mailboxes Monday through Friday? Or have we tried out a few new ideas when it comes to communication?

Great ideas beget great ideas.

Should we treat Education as a thing, or more like an idea? If we let Education simply be an idea, we unbridle it and allow it to do amazing things for us. Education is an amalgamation of ideas. It is a complex mishmash of human thought and existence up until this point in time. If we see Education as an idea, we will continually be reforming the way it looks, because ideas are always improving.

Think about your current cell phone. Now, think about the Zach Morris phone. At some point in time Martin Cooper had collected enough great ideas to manifest the creation of mobile telecommunication. He surveyed the existing ideas, saw an opportunity to improve the way we communicate, and created something which was only previously imagined. He saw what could be; not what was.

Since then, because we shared even more ideas, and because people valued those ideas, in only a few decades people are now wearing their phones right smack dab on their face.

It's amazing what ideas, diversity, and value can do.

So, with all that said, how has our approach to Education changed lately? Are we welcoming new pursuits and new approaches? Do we foster an environment of relevant learning? Or are we merely exchanging old ideas that are never really improved?

The key to any advancement is the ability to imagine; the ability to imagine what could be.
It’s questioning the current reality, the current thoughts, stigmas and dogmas, and pursuing something just a little bit different. It’s allowing yourself, and others, to try out a new approach. It’s how life improves. It’s how things get better.

Are we imagining and pursuing what could be, or are we settling for what already is?