【國外編輯部專欄】尋找教育的真諦

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作者/Gary Marx

翻譯/ 陳嵩仁

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尋找教育的真諦

現在給你個題目:「如何判定一個人有無受過教育?」對你來說怎漾的人才叫受過教育?具備學術知識?專業技能?還是性情良好?接著想想有什麼方法能讓「所有人」都達到你所立下的標準?該怎麼做?或許接下來的討論可以幫助你我釐清教育真正的目標。

在快速變化的世界,也許我們花太多時間和精力在哲理的拳鬥上,而不是嘗試重新定義和重置教育的目標。

想像一下兩位心理學家爬進擂台的畫面。身處提倡進步主義教育(註1)的19世紀,他們戴起拳套猛擊對方。一位是美國心理學家,也是心理學行為主義代表人物之一的愛德華‧李·桑代克(Edward Lee Throndike),另一位是美國實用主義哲學的重要代表人物約翰·杜威(John Dewey)。在這場哲學拳擊賽中,桑代克聲稱學校應該秉持產業化的經營策略。對他來說,學校只是傳播知識的工具。學校的責任是傳授知識和評估學生有無吸收。杜威則認為學校應該培養學生熱愛終生學習和公民素質。誰贏了比賽?誰應該獲勝?還是拳賽仍在進行?其實這兩種教育制度同時並行才可能成功,若政客硬要爭個輸贏,對社會又有何幫助呢?

結果下場就是我們培養出眾多思想周密的教育者,他們想幫助學生做足準備好面對未知的將來,卻仍使用過時的做法。

業界跟社會迫切需要的是會獨立思考、會判斷、會解決問題的人,然而我們本身卻拒絕運用上述能力來因應我們逐日倍增的問題。在這場非贏即輸的比賽中,我們失去了教育的目標和意義。

大部分學生早就與時俱進,利用科技連到另一個充滿資訊和想法的世界。新的學習模式逐漸形成,隨時、隨地、按照自己的學習速度。他們開始質疑:「學校所教的能在接下來的未來幫助我什麼?」如果我們回答不出這問題,我們最好重新思考何謂教育、為何教育、如何教育。

我們早已進入21世紀,是時候讓我們引領這個生氣蓬勃的社會把焦點重新放在教育的目標上。科學、技術、工程、藝術和數學等五大領域固然重要,但這些科目不應僅是課本中的知識,而是學以致用以利幫助未來發展的能力,不是嗎?

所以教育的目標是什麼?除非地球停止轉動,不然我們不會放棄尋找答案。為了便於討論,我來提供幾個見解:

1.提升公民意識(對家庭、學校、社區、國家、世界而言)

2.創造雇用價值(教育不該是職業訓練所,而是教授知識讓我們能找到工作並成為一個五育並重的公民)

3.發現生活樂趣(當我們懂越多,就越能用廣闊的視野看待世界)

4.培養個人獨特性(我們期望能發現學生的天賦和熱情,並激發他們的想像和創造力)

幾年前,我在阿根廷的一個地方政府演講,主題是未來趨勢。結束時,主辦單位跟我說:「我們學生想送你一個禮物。」其中一名學生Florencia Fernandez抱著她的吉他唱了「重新出發」。

讓我們接受 Florencia的建議,開啟新的教育對談吧!幫助我們的學生做足準備好面對知識和資訊全球化、創新求變和突破性思考當道的世代。這會是我們有史以來做過最令人振奮、最值得回憶和最有影響力的事。急劇變化的世界,時間正悄然流逝。

(註1)進步主義(Progressivism)為西元二十世紀教育哲學思想的主流之一。它以實用主義(Pragmatism)哲學為基礎,並擷取希臘哲學、經驗主義(Empiricism)、自然主義(Naturalism),與達爾文(Charles R.. Darwin,一八○九~一八八二)的進化論(Doctrin of Evolution)等思想精華融貫而成。進步主義教育哲學體系的基本信念,係以教育為實現民主理想的工具;教育以培養民主社會的健全公民為最高目標。其整體的意識形態,亦即所謂的「民主教育理論」。此一理論,係以杜威(John Dewey,一八五九~一九五二)思想為出發點,並融合其他進步主義教育學者的觀點,試圖以個人論(Theory of Individual)、社會論(Theory of Society)和知識論(Theory of Knowledge)等三個層面來架構進步主義教育哲學體系。資料來源: 中華百科全書

 

【作者介紹】

Gary Marx是美國顧問公司Centre for Public Outreach董事長,同時也是名作家、教育家和未來思想家。

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How to Find a Sense of Purpose in Education

Here’s the assignment: Describe an educated person. Include the academic knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes or dispositions that would, for you, clearly define any person as well educated. Now, let’s figure out how to make sure we all fit that description. All of us, not just a chosen few. How will we get it done? Maybe the very discussion will help us clarify our sense of purpose.

Instead of constantly striving to redefine and reset in light of new knowledge and exponentially expanding demands of a fast-changing world, we have, perhaps too often, spent our time and energy engaging in philosophical fisticuffs.

Visualize this: Two psychologists climb into a ring. It’s the age of progressive education. They put on their gloves and start punching. One is Edward Thorndike. The other is John Dewey. In a philosophical boxing match, Thorndike declares that schools should be “structured around the methods of industrial management." To him, they are just a delivery vehicle. Teach it and then evaluate whether the students have learned it. Dewey, on the other hand, counters that schools should cultivate a lifelong love of learning and develop the qualities of democratic citizenship. Who won the fight? Who should have won? Are the fists still flying?

Somehow, the system and a plethora of politicians have staked their sacred honor on a debate that helped shape schools for an Industrial Age. How much more mileage can we get from either-or when the answer is likely some reasonable version of this-and?

The upshot? We have growing numbers of thoughtful educators, determined to get students ready for the future, constrained by a mentality, a schedule, and an infrastructure of another time.

Employers and civil society are demanding people who can think, reason, and problem solve. Yet, as a society, as institutions, as politicians, we all but refuse to apply those skills to solving our own multiplying problems. Purpose and substance get lost in a game of win and lose.

Of course, many of our students are moving on. They’re already linked to a world of information and ideas, using interactive technologies and forming a new system of learning—any time, any place, any pace, and any way. Some ask, “How will what I’m being asked to learn in school be helpful to me in my life, today and tomorrow?" If we can’t answer that question, we’d better rethink the why, what, and how of education.

We’re well into the 21st century. Isn’t it time we led a spirited community or national conversation that zeroes in on the purposes of education? Granted, science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM) are important, but aren’t they means rather than ends in themselves?

What are the purposes of education? That should be a question we’re still trying to answer as the earth makes its final turn. For the sake of discussion, let me suggest a few: citizenship (of a family, school, community, country, world); employability (not just training for a job but the multitude of things we need to know and be able to do to  be employable and to be good citizens); the opportunity to live interesting lives (the more we know, the more interesting life becomes);releasing ingenuity that is already there (which means we’ll be expected to discover and develop the interests, skills, talents, and abilities of our students); and stimulating imagination, creativity, and inventiveness.

A few years ago, after speaking about trends and the future to a large community gathering at the city hall in Intendente Alvear, La Pampa, Argentina, the host said, “Our students have a gift for you." One of those students, Florencia Fernandez, embraced her guitar and sang “To Begin Again."

Let’s take Florencia’s advice and start a fresh conversation about education that will get our students ready for life in a Global Knowledge/Information Age, even an Age of Knowledge Creation and Breakthrough Thinking. It could be among the most exhilarating, memorable, and influential things we ever do. In a world of exponential change, time’s wasting.

 

【Author:Gary Marx】

president of the Center for Public Outreach, is a noted writer, educator, and futures thinker. His books, articles, ideas, and workshops inspire leaders worldwide and in every walk of life.

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圖片來源:lililala_1121@flickr

原文刊登於《educationweek》,經作者Gary Marx授權編譯,未經許可不得轉載

 

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