What is Education? Chapter 3

I have finished the book and blogging about the book for class. So for the next few days, I’m just going to post them all so I can get those posts out of the way and we can have other content!

This chapter, on the preconditions of education, was very interesting for me. It was something that I had never tried to address in my thinking about education previously. I did like the idea that Jackson opens up the chapter with–that thought requires training, and that the training of thought is a large part of what education is for. This I agreed with very much. I tried to think up some other preconditions besides Jackson’s of motion, ground, and rationality, but I didn’t find anything that I could really develop. Perhaps I need more time to think about it.

I also liked what Jackson wrote about the directions of thought–horizontally, vertically, or elliptically. The use of key words to identify the different kinds of thought was very helpful in recognizing the different ways that we thinking about things.

I struggled a little bit in the section on “The Grounding of Educational Effort.” Recently I have been thinking, why do we teach the things we do? Why do we think they are important? For some things, students don’t think it’s relevant to them at all (especially in history), or that it’s boring (of many subjects), and they may not ever use it (like certain kinds of math). I have doubts of the importance of what I might be teaching. How do we get rid of them? How do we convince ourselves of the importance of what we are teaching? I wish he gave an answer for that in this chapter.

The last section on “The Primacy of Rationality in Education” seemed to spend a lot of time on what I saw was constructive criticism, but Jackson called negation criticism. It’s interesting that this was talked about in this chapter, but after writing this blog entry, I think I’m starting to see why. If we are to train students in thought, then by offering constructive criticism to students and their peers in a consistent and fair way ought to help them develop this kind of thinking on their own. Then they can begin to find flaws in their own thinking and train themselves to think their own thought process. This kind of critical thinking–thinking that is able to look at itself–is something that all teachers would like to instill in their students, and it was rather helpful to see how to develop that within the students themselves.

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