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What does it mean to be well educated?
Note from Dan
What does it mean to be well educated? This important question helps to frame how we teach, and for what purpose. At a recent Parent Roundtable, we explored this topic. Here are some of the characteristics that emerged when we brainstormed the concept of being well educated:
The ability to work with information in the world
Problem-solving issues both macro and micro
Being well rounded
Becoming a good conversationalist – comfortable speaking and discussing ideas
Knowing and accepting yourself
Asking questions; being inquisitive
Able to apply knowledge to the world, changing it for the better
Understanding one’s roots; learning from the past and connecting lessons to the future
Critical thinking; processing and challenging facts – constructing new knowledge
Collaborating with others; work well as a team
It is clear that, in addition to mastering foundational skills and knowledge, a well-rounded student must also be fluent in many higher-level skills and talents. They must learn both excellence and wisdom. In progressive schools we teach both academic and social-emotional competencies.
What happens in schools in which success is primarily measured in test scores? In 1890, Elizabeth Harrison, an early progressive educator, wrote about this phenomenon: “One of the mistakes of our age is that we begin by educating our children’s intellects rather than their emotions…The results are that many children grow up cold, hard, matter-of-fact, with little of poetry, sympathy, or ideality to enrich their lives…We starve the healthful emotions of children in order that we may over-feed their intellects. Is not this doing them a great wrong? When the sneering tone is heard, and the question “Will it pay?” is the all-important one, do we not see the result of such training?…The education of the heart must advance along with that of the head if well-balanced character is to be developed.”
At Blue Oak we teach the whole child, helping students develop their academics, their humanity, and their passion to explore and impact the world. In this way, we define well-educated as head, hands, and heart.
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Blue Oak School
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1436 Polk Street Napa, California 94559 707.261.4500