This essay attempts to discuss the competing aims of education whether they be academic, vocational or even purely enabling students to be virtuous. Marples (2010), “What is Education for?”, and Hand (2010), “What should go on the Curriculum?” provide much of the initial insight into the formation of my personal view on the competing aims of education
What is education for?
Education is in itself a concept, which has changed over the millennia, can mean different things and has had differing purposes according to time and culture. Education may take place anywhere, is not constrained by bricks and mortar, delivery mechanisms or legislative requirements. Carr (2003. p19) even states, “education does not necessarily involve teaching”. Education, by one definition, is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life (education, n.d.).
In Australia, the Australian Curriculum and Reporting authority (ACARA) has developed national curriculum and guidelines to be adhered to by all educational entities and teachers from years K – 12.
General capabilities are embedded in all areas of teaching, encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century (ACARA, 2013). Ethical understanding is a specific general capability, of the Australian Curriculum, identified along with Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, and Intercultural understanding. These all place a great demand on the teacher and the delivering of content in an ethical manner. For the purposes of this essay, I will confine the understanding of education to those processes, which do take place within designated educational entities.
Drawing from Marples’ and Hand’s outlines of the debate surrounding educational aims (Bailey, 2010) and other scholarly and professional sources, discuss competing aims of education and identify the aims for which you, yourself, would argue.
Marples (2010) enters into a philosophical discourse about what education is for whereas Hand (2010) discusses what should go on the curriculum.
Peters (1966) argues, “that education is the process of initiation into intrinsically worthwhile activities”. According to Peters, even though the knowledge gained should not have extrinsic value, valuable synergies eventuate, and an educated person’s competencies are “linked to a wider belief system than someone merely trained (Peters, 1966, pp. 30-4).
There are a number of conflicting aims identified on what education is for when philosophical viewpoints are examined. These, according to Marples (2010), include knowledge for its own sake, education for work, and education for well-being.
Knowledge for its own sake is a nice...