The Purpose of Education
As teachers endeavor into the field of education, it is imperative to ask exactly what the purpose of education is and why education has become one of the fundamental institutions of society. In examining this question, I realize that education serves as the basis for the organization of our culture, and essentially, the entire world and its influence is invaluable. I see four essential purposes of education: to foster thinking and reasoning skills in students, to create a sense of community, to develop life skills such as responsibility and cooperation, among others, and to provide a precursor for life’s continuous education.
The most obvious purpose of education, and perhaps the one that many people view as the only purpose, is to instill in students a means of thinking. In our current education, this takes the form of several major subject areas, like math, science, history, and English, but these areas are constantly expanding to reflect our changing culture as students today are encouraged to expand their knowledges. But education goes beyond even providing subject information; it teaches students to think critically and rationally and to consider ideas— skills necessary in all life situations.
The structure of education today, and throughout history, helps to provide a strong sense of community within society. Because students’ main access to other people outside their families is in school, this is the environment in which they learn to converse with and form relationships with others. The sense of community created within the school provides an example of the sense of community as a whole, thus preparing students to enter into that larger community upon the commencement of their school experience. Furthermore, the school system involves parents and families in the school community, thus extending that community and developing a wide-ranging resulting relationship.
Schools in many ways teach various life skills to students, or if education is unable to teach a...