Education is preparation for a perfect life

Although the educational purpose of developing individual potential attaches great importance to the subjectivity of the educated as \”human beings\”, it does not take into account the reality of human life. People must live, not only because of their biological needs, but also as a social reality. Therefore, through the process of education, guiding and assisting children to acquire life abilities should be more pragmatic and more beneficial to children\’s well-being than developing their potential. According to this view, education is not only closely related to life, but also preparation for life. The British educator Spencer (1820-1903) emphasized the practicality of education in his famous work \”Education\” and advocated that the purpose of education is the preparation for a \”perfect life\”. Spencer further pointed out that a perfect life includes five types of activities: 1. Healthy life; 2. Professional life; 3. Marriage and family life; 4. Social activities; 5. Leisure life. Therefore, the purpose of education is to teach children the necessary knowledge for these five activities to prepare them for a perfect life. Spencer believed that all knowledge needed for life is valuable, but since all five types of activities in life require \”scientific knowledge\”, scientific knowledge is the most valuable. Among the 10 classic family education books recommended, Spencer\’s \”Life Preparation Theory\” not only clearly reveals the practical purpose of education, but also provides a lot of inspiration for the content of curriculum and teaching. But after all, \”preparation\” is a kind of future tense, not to mention that the life Spencer emphasizes is the life of the adult world, not the current life of children. If the purpose of education is to teach children to prepare for a perfect life in the future, wouldn’t current life become a means and a tool and lose its own value? If education must sacrifice children\’s current life in order to prepare for a perfect life in the future, the goodwill of education has actually been lost to a considerable extent. American educator Dewey held the view that \”education is growth\” and emphasized that education is a process of continuous growth. In fact, from the perspective of the function of educational activities, Dewey emphasized that \”education is life.\” Dewey criticized the idea of ​​\”preparation for life\” and pointed out four possible undesirable effects on education. First, if education is preparation for future life, children’s current motivation for learning will be ignored; second, because future life is out of reach, it is easy to delay current learning; third, if preparation for adult life is used as Purpose, then children\’s special abilities are easily restricted by traditional standards; fourth, if the purpose is to prepare for future life, this must rely on external experiences of joy and pain to achieve the purpose of learning. Dewey believed that preparing for future life is important, but children\’s life experience here and now is even more important. If children\’s current life experience can be enriched, it will actually be the best preparation for a perfect life in the future. Clearly, Dewey argued that education is life itself, rather than preparation for future adult life.

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