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Searching For a Balance in Education

Searching For a Balance in Education

The definition of "education" encompasses many different meanings. It can be defined as schooling, studies, learning, the educational system, and the list continues on. Both Adrienne Rich and Jon Spayde feel that education is composed all of these elements. But learning at a school, inside of a classroom is only the beginning. There is much more to learn other than what is inside of a text book. Learning, in large part, will come from experiencing the happiness, horrors, tragedies, and other lessons that life will bring us. We will not be able to truly appreciate our gift of knowledge until we learn to look within ourselves and to gain the self- awareness we need to recognize the meaning and importance of education. Spayde and Rich feel that a school education alone does not prepare us for the real world. Both Spayde and Rich give accounts of what they have experienced inside the educational arena. (66)

Jon Spayde, author of "Learning in the Key of Life,²s ntless experiences of many writers to illustrate the various types of education that exist in today¹s society. He and his colleagues don¹t necessarily believe that a formal education is the only way to learn, but instead there are various avenues for acquiring knowledge. ³The whole world is a classroom, and to really make it one, the first thing is to believe it is. "(62) In Spayde¹s essay, Elizabeth Sutton- Lawrence discusses Greek education, known as "in-the-street education,"where the Greeks "learned largely in part from first-hand experience. Socrates met and challenged his "pupils²"in the streets, at dinner parties, and after festivals.²"(us) Even if universities had been established in Greek times, Socrates, most likely would still have chosen to educate himself in the streets. He probably would have chuckled at the idea of formal schooling. (62)

According to Spayde, not only did the Greeks believe in self-education, but so did other classical philosophers. They believed that to enliven the mind ³"You need to be very alert to the world around you."(63) Awareness is so critical to our learning experience. We¹ll never appreciate the beauty that life brings us if we don¹t sit back and reflect on the experiences that we¹ve learned from. New York Jazz and rock writer Gene Santoro expressed that we can also learn a lot from ³popular culture.² "Jazz", for example, ³"is the artistic version of the American experience.

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