I agree that this is probably the primary purpose, but I might argue that an additional purpose is to teach people how to think critically, evaluate evidence, and make informed decisions. I've known students with adequate knowledge, but virtually no idea of how to think about or solve problems, and I believe that the system of formal education is partially to blame.
Resolved: The primary purpose is to set up debate teachers with hot chicks for strings-free sex.
As an aside, the purpose of education, in my opinion, is to help students learn the skills which they can use to increase their knowledge, as need and inclination require. I believe is an error to mistake the imparting of knowledge, which is done with the aim of encouraging and facilitating the growth of those skills, with the actual end of the endaevour. What we can do is pick this 'illustrative' knowledge so that it is useful to the students in the future, but the burden (and credit) lies on them.
I have no idea how to debate. These threads interest me but are puzzling as I never know how to approach them. The main problem with college, in my opinion, is most professors don't know how to teach students to think critically (and I doubt that's their aim), because they are too busy trying to get students to spit their opinions back to them. I spent most of my time annoyed that assignments seemed to be more about giving a professor what he or she wanted to hear, rather than doing any real analysis and synthesis and coming up with (or trying to) original ideas about a particular subject.
I'd go with Tal's "additional purpose". The primary purpose of formal education ought to be to teach critical thinking. Anybody can absorb information. Critical thinking requires practice, guidance, skill, and a certain amount of give and take from one's peers to hone one's analyses, which is (in my opinion) what professors/advisors/mentors are there for.
Other than that, college is indeed for sex, drugs, and going to parties, drinking beer until the keg kicks, passing out, and waking up in a strange bed with a dubious, only-semi-recognizable personage, scrambling to find your clothes, and sneaking out without waking said person. Then, carefully avoiding eye contact for the next four years. This gets tricky if you go to a small college and are promiscuous. Not that I would know.
quote:Originally posted by CHiPsJr What you see in front of you is all they give us. Definitions of terms and relevance of examples are as debatable as any other factor.
For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume the topic's affirmative has to argue that the impartation of factual information is more important than any other educational goal.
Hurm... I am going to frame it as "imparting knowledge" [impartially] v. providing guidance. I'll do the negative first, since I have to pick up my sweetie. I might also move #4 to #1, since it could be made pretty strong.
The primary goal of education should not be to simply "impart knowledge." Rather, it is to provide guidance to children in a multitude of areas that are necessary for success and survival. This openly-acknowledged, broader role of the formal educational system is justified for the following 4 reasons:
1. It is vital to sucess and survival in a global community.
The US is an expanding society. Our societal makeup and culture has changed. With the advent of 20th and 21st Century technology, a global community has genuinely been established. Cultural diversity is as certain as "death and taxes." Our educational system should "impart knowledge" to children of these differences, so as to prepare them for the realities of living in a global community. But the primary goal should be to foster a common, cohesive set of standards of conduct and factual premises, within these differences, that are beneficial for a global society. In short, the primary goal should be providing guidance.
2. Experience is the best teacher.
The goal of education should not just be for a remote authority to "impart knowledge" to a student. Studies show that people learn best interactively [cite]. Accordingly, formal education has already implemented programs throughout the country that involves more than simply presenting fact-based information in textbooks. Alternative approaches such as hands-on learning or co-operative educational programs have resulted in extraordinary success [cite] inside the classroom. They have also facilitated job placement by helping students make contacts in the working world and gain a perspective of realistic expectations in employment. This trend should be continued, with guidance being given to children to make the best choices they can.
3. Parents have less time and resources to provide instruction in areas that previously were the province of the home:
Families are now overwhelmingly comprised of two employed parents, with two incomes genuinely needed to provide children with the basic necessities. This is fact. [cite]. As a result of this phenomenon, the task has falled to the educational system to provide guidance to children in areas such as how to constructively interact with another, the basics of sexual education and associated diseases, and other areas that were previously the exclusive province of the home. This is necessary for a functioning society. It is also in the best interest of the child. Therefore, it should be openly acknowledged and encouraged within formal education.
4. Formal education has historically provided guidance as much as imparted knowledge.
Finally, instruction in morality has always been a mainstay of formal education in America. [cite]. America has prospered as a result. Thus, there is no reason for this trend to be discontinued.
Incidentally, if you feel like doing my job for me, I've got to pick between 3 jobs:
a. Maritime lawyer with cool, upcoming firm that I clicked with. Good negotiations on salary & hours. Only drawback = 25 minute commute;
b. In-house counsel position with good, publicly-traded E&P outfit. Cool deal. Nice hours. Good salary. Means essentially retiring from formally practicing law and trial work, though; and
c. Litigation associate with 20 lawyer firm named to the "Texas Superlawyers" (heh.) Not as much energy or maritime, but probably cool group with more diverse practice....
He's (Obama) the President of Hate. He has magically allowed the blue monkeys to embrace hatred, to feel proud of it, to murder, to conquer. They never would have been able to take this step without him.