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Subject:Re: to Bill Burns' s question From:Phil Hey <hey -at- BRIAR-CLIFF -dot- EDU> Date:Fri, 19 Apr 1996 09:41:17 -0600
Bill, you wrote
> If you refer to education without any
> external influences, I'd have to accept your idea (darn near impossible, I'd
> say). If you mean that it's easier for people to be taught than to pursue
> knowledge on their own, I'd say that a few members of this list are exceptions
> to your rule (myself included). Could you clarify your meaning?
Bill, I think we're more in agreement than it seems. I take training to be
(assembling, synthesizing, using) of pieces of information to achieve
ends -- an algorithm, if you will. Education, by contrast, has much to do
environment in which those pieces of information become significant, and in how
that environment and significance might change -- a heuristic. Increasingly,
education has to do with orienting students within the epistemology of a
or skill as well as its specific practices. It is possible to be
self-educated if you look
beyond a simple action-result paradigm, and look for some underlying
guide why a certain outcome may be better than others in a given situation.
The Autodidact will provide an example here; twenty years ago I started teaching
business writing out of curiosity and an incipient market demand. Learning how
to write for those purposes was nearly effortless (my background is poetry,
lots of work in forms); but learning WHY is an ongoing outreach that has led me
to all sorts of business publications, organizational behavior, management
ethics, even sociology (which I hated in college). Granted, my students
it just because I have it -- but I try to bring a coherent background to
bear on their
specific assignments so that they can see there's more than just writing at
Amazingly, a large majority of them do seem to get it, and they carry out their
assignments with creativity and humanity, at an acceptably high level of
Of course we can educate ourselves. . . if we but would.
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