Thursday, August 28, 2014

What You Don't Know

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.
Anatole France

We spend a great deal of our education committing facts to memory, beginning with letters and colors all the way through to quantum physics, rhetoric and Chinese literature. We strive to be experts in our fields ~ which generally means being reluctant to say, "I don't know."
As I've begun each new school year, I realize there is more and more that I don't know. We're getting Chromebooks by mid-September. Although I as often considered one of the 'resident' tech experts, I know nothing about that technology. My position has altered slightly for the new year and I don't know the trajectory of its course. I find myself spending more and more time in the space between breaths, feeling my way forward. Learning a more true definition of life-long learning.
According to Anatole France's definition of education, I am growing more fully into mine. I am more and more aware with each passing year just how much more there is to know and understand in the world around me. I am grateful for all that I do know and remember. The magnitude of information around me could easily overwhelm me. As I marvel at that, I recall another quote, this one from George Washington Carver:
"When I was young, I said to God, 'God, tell me the mystery of the universe.' But God answered, 'That knowledge is for me alone,' So I said, 'God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.' Then God said, 'Well, George, that's more nearly your size.' And he told me."
What an amazing view of education!
What do you recall of your school years? How do you define life-long learning? Are you a participant in life-long learning? When do you think your education will be complete?

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