Teachers, Students

25 January, 2021

“It is about learning for life” | A teacher’s view of the role of education

Appreciating the value of education

Appreciating the value of education

Eileen Murray is the Student Wellbeing Coordinator in FCJ Secondary School, Wexford. With over 40 years of experience, she reflects on the role of education, and encourages us to consider and appreciate its value in all our lives.

2021 marks the third celebration of the International Day of Education in late January, and, this year, the day focuses on the theme, “Recover and Revitalise Education for the COVID-19 Generation”.

When education gets bogged down in the syllabus, learning intentions and outcomes, success criteria, assessments, multi-modal and metacognition statements of learning and key skills, perhaps we are losing sight of what education truly is.

I have always been of the opinion, over my long career of 40 plus years, that education is more than the acquisition of knowledge. It is also about learning for life. It must be about teaching young people good manners, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, as well as looking after their health - physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic - in a proactive, self-motivating way.

Education is about developing leadership skills and emotional intelligence that enables students to cooperate with others in loving kindness. Educators should not lose sight of the importance of kindness for living a happy and fulfilled life.

During this pandemic, we are all forced to think about and appreciate the importance of education and its role in all our lives. Teachers, students and parents have been forced to stop, think and appreciate the value of education. It is a wonderful lesson for us, and I hope the world will not forget when everything is “back to normal”.

We are all forced to be more introspective: spending so much time “alone with ourselves”, imposed on us by outside forces, namely COVID-19 lockdowns; learning the importance of the classroom and the interpersonal relationships that happen there. We are becoming more self-aware and rediscovering the importance of little things for fulfilment and overall wellbeing.  

Education opens the mind to endless possibilities. Education frees the soul and deepens one’s inner life through music, art, poetry, and good literature. Education must also quieten the mind, give it space to find true peace through meditation and spirituality.

Without education, we are lost. We never fully develop the true potential within ourselves.

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