Extended definition essay – Education

Extended definition essay – Education

Education comes from the Latin word, ‘education’ that refers to the act of teaching or training (Rather, 2004). Different authors and scholars have defined the concept of education in different ways using different terms. 

Some of these definitions by Western scholars include:

  • Aristotle’s view: “The creation of a sound mind and sound body…” (Callaos & Callaos, 1993). 
  • Socrates view: “to bring out of the ideas of universal validity, latent in the mind of man”.
  • Kant said: “education is the development in the individual of all the perfection of which he is capable”.
  • Herbert’s view: “education is the development of good character”.
  • Dewey’s definition: “the process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences” (Rather, 2004).

UNESCO defines education as the process of imparting knowledge through formal or informal means that occurs throughout life (UNESCO, 2007). UN considers education as a continuous process of learning for the purpose of empowering individuals to play a role in transforming the society. Apart from knowledge, education involves teaching and learning values, attitudes and behaviors that enable people reach their maximum potentials. In this regard, Draver defines education as a process that shapes and moulds knowledge, behavior and values of young ones (Rather, 2004). 

In a narrow view, education can be defined as the process of providing knowledge through teaching methods. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, education refers to the process of educating and results in the gaining of knowledge and development (2017). The purpose of educating is to impart knowledge. In the narrow view, education is restricted to school instruction and begins when a person joins school in the lowest grade until the point when a person leaves college or university with a diploma or degree. The process of education is formal; this implies that specific methods of educating or imparting knowledge are used. In the school setting, education is limited to the classroom and a learner has to pass various examinations to prove that education is successful. In addition, only teachers give education by following a curriculum where everything is pre-planned and controlled. 

In a broader sense, education refers to the process of gaining knowledge and skills from birth till death. It involves the growth and development of personality as a result of exposure to various surroundings. For instance, learning can occur at home, at school, at work, in the streets, playground, and other places. Here, education is not limited to a classroom and is not just communicated by a teacher. Rather, it occurs in different settings and is continuous in life. In this regard, Dewey defines education as an endless process that involves the reconstruction of experiences (Rather, 2004). An individual then builds and develops these capacities that helps him or her to meet different possibilities (Rather, 2004). 

When the narrow and broad view are reconciled, education can be defined as the continuous process through which knowledge is acquired through both a formal and an informal process. It involves the knowledge and experiences that individuals acquire from their social and natural surroundings. Therefore, education can be referred to as anything that expand our insights, understanding and stimulates our thoughts and feelings. In other words, education is the process through which people redefine themselves in accordance with their social and natural environments. 

In summary, education has numerous definitions. It is a continuous process that ultimately leads to gaining of new knowledge and experiences that redefine our lives. 


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