David W. Orr's "Goal of Education"

Tidepool JellyMy sister showed me a quote from David W. Orr she came across during an Environmental Education course this summer. When study is meaningful, the subject is often not what is learned.

The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but mastery of one’s person. Subject matter is simply a tool. Much as one would use a hammer and a chisel to carve a block of marble, one uses ideas and knowledge to forge one’s own personhood. For the most part we labour under a confusion of ends and means, thinking that the goal of education is to stuff all kinds of facts, techniques, methods and information into the students’ minds, regardless of how and with what effect it will be used.

And while many have come around to this way of thinking with regards to content not necessarily being the center of a course, but the means by which to drive critical thinking and a sense of pride and individuality into the curriculum, we have yet to entirely address these ideas in terms of technology. The use of more technology is not a golden ticket to ‘better’ learning, as it must serve the larger goals of creating community, and helping the members of that community to realize their potential. As with content, technology is merely the tool which may – or may not – allow this type of growth and awareness.