Experience Education Essay

3035 words - 13 pages

Education provides the masses with the knowledge needed to succeed in life. Most people define education as the schooling found in public institutions. However, a majority of the population gains most of their knowledge not from schools, but from their surroundings. A person’s environment teaches the lessons firsthand, letting that person develop their own way of reacting and learning. This creates a personalized education that provides the individual with a chance to form their own opinion without any bias from an authority figure. Authoritative educators sometimes incorporate personal opinion into their teaching. Education in literature often originates from life experiences. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini illustrates how society’s teachings are harshly exposed to characters as they each meet the real world. On the other hand, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, characters watch as society’s hypocrisy and double-standards unfold in front of their eyes. Although formal education from authority figures can impact characters, both novels demonstrate how real life experiences deliver richer lessons while formal education restricts the scope of learning for a character. However, while Khaled Hosseini uses direct and destructive experiences to educate the character, Harper Lee allows characters to be observers in their discoveries, resulting in unclouded judgment when the character learns from the situation.
Both authors develop the idea of real life experiences being more meaningful educational sources than what teachers teach at schools, with a formal education being a restriction for learning. For Scout, the miscommunication that occurs from the first day of school prevents proper education from taking place. When Scout shows that she is literate, Miss Caroline looks at her “with more than faint distaste” (22) and tells Scout to stop learning from Atticus as it would “interfere with [Scout’s] reading” (22). Miss Caroline has a specific schedule for her students’ learning and will hold a child back from diverting from this schedule. Miss Caroline has a sensitive personality which is in contrast with the harsh environment the students grow up in. Because of this she does not comprehend the ways of Maycomb and the children of Maycomb do not comprehend the ways of Miss Caroline, resulting in a breakdown of clear communication therefore preventing proper learning from taking place. The education system in Maycomb seems contradictory and almost backwards. The flawed institution preparing the next generation teaches narrow mindedness. This can result in as much prejudice and discrimination in the next generation as the current one. Scout’s later teacher Miss Gates agrees that the United States is a democracy and that there are “‘equal rights for all, special privileges for none’” (328) and claims that, “‘over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody….there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is...

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