from INFORMation to inFORMATION
Education provides the nexus or the meeting point between individuals and information. Because education deals with individuals, it is important for learners to understand what it means to be human. Apart from the process for human formation in which they are engaged, the knowledge that they collect has no meaning. Not to be confused with cognitive development – a naturally occurring process- the formation of an individual requires intentional input and it is the primary function of education to provide this in a way that transforms the individual into a human being.
In order to understand what it means to be human, individuals at some point in their lives must engage with the world they live in. This world exists in both visible and invisible aspects, which all have an impact on the formation of an individual and society. Because education deals with content, it is vital for students to understand how humans know things about the world. Knowledge has an invisible context of philosophical foundation, ontological theory, moral codes, and world views that affect everything a student wants to know.
Next, what is the result of humanity’s collective knowledge? How did language, civilization, culture, arts, history, geography, and sciences come to be? How have they developed to their present state? Then understanding various means of knowing like the scientific method, logic, reason, observation, etc… what has humanity come to understand of the world? What are our methods of interacting with and organizing information? What is the significance of discovery in mathematics, astronomy, physics, geology, etc… These things have influenced life today in ways that most people never understand, though they feel the effects.
Once students have an understanding of the process of knowing and an overview of the things to be known, they are ready to begin the process of participating in the narrative of human history. The tools of participation and successful engagement in life include skills like art, music, communication, writing, speaking, debate, empathy, manners, fashion, dancing, eating, cooking, sports, outdoorsmanship, physical fitness, etc…
In order for any of these previous activities to have value, students must understand themselves in the context of the present day humanity. This can be understood through subjects like psychology, physiology, sociology, and theology. It is important to expand students understanding to all aspects of their emotional mental, physical, spiritual and social dimensions. It is through these things that they can find purpose and meaning, and build and maintain healthy relationships.
Finally in the last step of this process, though it has been ongoing since the beginning, the student should discover how he or she is wired to engage with the surrounding world effectively and begin to specialize in a specific field most suited to his or her individual and contextual identity. Teachers continue to mentor students through this process, but the function of the school changes. Instead of helping students discover what is, the school becomes the context of beginning to pursue dreams both individually and collectively. The students begin to create what will be.
The seemingly impossible goal of the educator is to make this entire process accessible to the student in terms of time, finances, and knowledge. The function of the institution is to connect the individual teachers and learners with strategy and resources to break down the goal and makes its achievement accessible and sustainable.
Elyseum Hall is a model for formalized education designed to support a cost-effective Human-Centered Learning environment for students in their later teens or early twenties. It recognizes and splits the dual function of teachers into subject matter experts and learning coaches who together support a self-governed learning community in which the students themselves are the primary teachers. Continue reading…