The purpse of education

Essay by danger1665College, UndergraduateA, April 2004

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The Purpose of Education

What is the purpose of education? To gather an answer for that question, first you must look at the most commonly accepted theories of education. John Dewey and Horace Mann are two philosophers that have completely revolutionized the way the American schooling system educates students. The most clear and evident purpose of education is preparation. Schooling across the world, regardless of topic, exists solely to prepare you for that desired topic. I am going to demonstrate the purpose of education by demonstrating the two most accepted theories of today's schooling system. Horace Mann believed that schools should teach more practical knowledge. In Fact, according to educational analyst Robert Badolato, "He rejected the stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne", saying, "we want something nearer to duty and business." This means he favored more useful courses such as arithmetic and spelling. In Mann's eyes, however, an educated man had complete control over his destiny.

He argued that this would allow poverty stricken citizens become successful. John Dewey on the other hand believed in what is now known as "functionalism". Functionalism is achieved by the implementation of many hands-on activities and visual aids. Dewey was against the authoritarian teaching methods that were becoming more popular in the United States. He believed that a proper method of teaching would be inform and engage the student to want to learn more. In Education and Experience, released late in Dewey's career, he criticized teaching methods that only amused or entertained students. He was also against over-vocal methods such as lectures. Many of these similar ideas of Dewey and Mann are what currently form our schooling system.

Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Massachusetts in 1796. Interested in becoming successful like his parents, he was educated at Brown University and went to law school...