Education can be defined as any experience or act that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual, or as the process by which society transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. In this sense, education is the transmission of civilization - knowledge is passed on, continuously, and is available to bring the younger generations up to date in their formative years.
Education informs children as to what is possible by helping them make sense of themselves and their world, and getting a sense of what they are capable, of their potential.
As an example of the simple conceptual equation: facts + context = meaning, if a child learns to hit a tennis ball superbly well through repetitive drills and instruction, and they learn how to vary the pace and trajectory of the ball and its direction, these skills still don't have any meaning unless they are executed on court. In other words, skill develops meaning in the proper context - with an opposing player and a given set of rules.
The task of an educator is to pass along the curriculum content in such a way that students will find it useful and meaningful in the context of their own lives, and we need to make meaning from why we as a society feel that education is vital. The simplest answer to this is that our children need to be educated so that they may become the next cohesive and informed generation. Whilst a more parochial answer is that children need to be educated so that when they leave home they can survive on their own.
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