Thinking and relating to any subject seems to follow this model:

1) we ask "what is our goal?", in other words, we want to define what a subject is;

2) we attempt to define the method by which we can reach that goal.

3) After marching in the direction of the goal, we again return to the question: what really is the subject?

And so the cycle of thinking repeats, as our understanding of the subject becomes more concrete and, at the same time, more general. Eventually, we may find out that the subject with which we originally started has changed its form so much that we're forced to give it a new name, to define it anew, to take a whole different attitude towards it. This is because we're on a new level of knowing.

Hence, if we take up the subject of education, two questions immediately come up:

1) what do we mean by education?

2) how to go about obtaining it?

Learning to think about anything - in this instance, education -  involves learning to see what others previously thought and did on the subject. Hence, it is necessary to become familiar with a large body of material. Absorbing that involves not merely recounting what was said or done, but commenting on that, and hence a start to a development of our own ideas. New ideas always start from the criticism of the old.

In the process of presenting thoughts of others there lies hidden a danger. In particular, my previous attempt at thinking was characterized by writing down quotes from some authors which I have read, and trying to elaborate or comment on them. This is fine and dandy, as a learning stage in old-fashioned schools. However, once we start thinking on our own, old style of working won't do. Ideas of an author that we have read are connected to each other in an organic fashion. Meanwhile, if we try to fish out separate ideas from our notes, and comment on them, that organic development which we see in original works disappears. And hence, we're left with stale generalizations, unconnected with each other.

Dali sleep

Salvador Dali, "Sleep"

Ideas of others are like crutches that one learns to use, for a while. If one spends too much time walking on crutches, one doesn't learn to walk on one's own. Hence, after the previous efforts of civilization and culture have been absorbed, it becomes necessary to throw away these crutches - ideas of others - and start treading on ones' own. My own thinking on the subject of education is enriched by the particular educational practice in which I am engaged, which is teaching English in Ukraine. Another source of inspiration for this study of education is the attempt to educate myself and my son. If a teacher is not a student, s/he is not a teacher.

The problem of education leads to the problem of a general view of knowledge. And knowledge is the main productive force in the modern global revolution that is taking place. 

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