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1. Write an argumentative essay in which you put forth your own belief about the purpose of education. Is education, as per many of the authors that we have read, about expanding minds and developing critical thinking skills for some noble purpose (to make for better individuals, to make for a better democracy, etc.), or are proponents of the market model of education correct in arguing that education should be all about certifying students for future employment?
2. Write an argumentative essay in which you take on the topic of the one of the selections from The Conscious Reader that we chose. Develop your own central claim in your thesis, supporting reasons and evidence that develop and support the thesis, and cite any outside sources—including the selection from The Conscious Reader itself—that you use.
3. Compare and contrast two or more of the readings we have discussed this semester. Put the authors’ ideas in conversation with one another, and direct your purpose towards synthesizing the ideas of the authors, reconciling any differences of values or facts by determining yourself whatyou believe to be true.
4. Write a self-expressive essay about your personal philosophy of life. Show how you have developed the system of values by which you live. The essay should be composed of experiences and observations as material to expose a set of principles or values that help you negotiate the important decisions moral and logistical that confront you. Be sure to include descriptive details, examples, events, and experiences for each principle. In other words, it is not enough to say what your values are, they need to be demonstrated by looking at their genesis or how they are shown in your living.
5. Wild card. If you have an idea for another approach to the essay about which you wish to write, discuss it with me no later than Tuesday, July 26th. The essay must be ambitious and well-considered.
Before starting a discussion about education, we should first realize the difference between education and literacy, as these are two concepts that create confusion in the minds of many. By literacy, we can roughly refer to the ability to read and write but it does not imply that the person is educated. An educated person refers to a person who has been systematically taught and trained at a facility, which also instills values, traditions, moral and cultural importance in him or her (Merriam). It is also important to notice that, receiving valuable experience in a field, also counts as a kind of education, henceforth, bringing us to the point that, people with valuable experience and without the ability to read or write might be considered illiterates but cannot be considered uneducated. The present topic of debate also provides an insight into our thought processes. We need the education to be better human beings but in reality, we do not need to be educated for jobs. We need to be literate and have degrees to qualify for being given jobs. The very question which asks if education is needed for a job assumes a very narrow definition of education, in which it is equal to being literate, and hence can be called faulty.
Stephen Sterling in his article Sustainable Education: Re-Visioning Learning and Change. Schumacher Briefings (Sterling) differentiates between the two paradigms of education for life and education for jobs. He states that for a sustainable education system to be running in a country, what is needed is vision, design, dedication, and image. He further states that an ecological and participatory education system can mold minds into much more mature individuals. Education makes an all-round individual whereas literacy only prepares and makes a person eligible for a job. The financially backward sections of society mostly rely on literacy and degrees alone to land jobs and this is what the government of many third world countries also propagate education as, which ends up killing the very definition of education. For example, consider a youth with proper education, including reasoning and analogy skills, proper communication skills, good behavior and proper moral and traditional values in an adverse situation; and then consider another youth with no formal education, without any traditional and moral values or reasoning and analogy skills. The educated youth would look for a solution through the use of his or her experience and would try to solve the situation by analyzing the problems. It is also important to note, that the educated youth would try to contain the crisis by moral means, without the use of any improper methods or strength. The uneducated youth on the other hand, might display much more instinctual reactions to the crisis situations, which might, in turn, worsen the situation. Education instills certain values in us, which helps us mature into better individuals. (Sterling)
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