I had an interesting dream a few weeks ago. I dreamt that I went to high school. The odd thing was that while I was in the physical body of a high schooler, I had my current mind of a 68-year-old. It was odd as I was attending the school for the first time as a new student, so I didn’t know where or when my classes were held. It was as if I had been taking the classes online and was now transitioning to the real classroom. The other students had been there all along. It was disconcerting being in the new environment but reassuring because I was 68 years old. I wasn’t panicking like a teenager.
In fact, it was fun because, in my head, I felt I knew more than most of the teachers and administrators because they were so much younger than I was. But I still looked like a teenager, so I couldn’t act haughty. I had all kinds of thoughts about what and how we were learning in high school and, more importantly, why we were learning many things. I distinctly recall thinking through the whole educational approach of our culture during this dream.
It was a lucid dream, and I when woke up, I continued to think with a passion through the purpose and process of education for the next hour. Obviously, I lost some sleep that night but enjoyed the dream and the resulting processing.
I came up with this definition of education: Learning to Comprehend Reality Well.
I word-smithed each word in this definition during my time awake in the middle of the night…
For my time thinking through this, here is what I came up with:
- Learning is understanding the concepts and incorporating them into one’s life.
- Comprehending is integrating concepts across cognitive, affective, social, and physical domains.
- Reality is understood as the material world (cosmos), the experiential world (what we experience with our senses), and micro (quantum mechanics), as well as the immaterial world (spiritual, ethereal, values).
- Well means in ways that benefit oneself personally as well as their immediate or greater world.
I think it is time to rethink our approach to education. Are there benefits to the multiplication tables, yes. Is it worth the effort to commit them to memory, maybe? I fully appreciate my ability to think today is rooted in the skills I learned in school, but I am convinced penmanship was not one of them!
I need to continue processing this. By the way, it was much easier to be in high school with the mind of a 68-year-old rather than that of a 16-year-old! So many of the things that I was concerned about when in high school didn’t produce a bit of concern in my current state of mind. I think this would be true of most of life. The tough experiences of growing up give us a different perspective, called wisdom.