What Is The Purpose Of Education?

There has been a lot of talk about what education is going to look like this fall. From elementary schools all the way through college classes, how to safeguard our students and teachers? To decide, we need to know the purpose of education.

Unfortunately, there is no ideal solution to the current situation.

Parents are torn, as they want their children to be safe from illness. But many also want or need to return to work, and they can’t afford to stay home with children doing remote learning.

Teachers are conflicted. In-person instruction is most effective, and is what they know and are familiar with. However, they don’t want to spread disease in their communities, and they want to keep the most at-risk school employees healthy.

Students are in a bind. They want to see their friends, and return to the life they know. And yet, many of them don’t want to carry sickness to family members, particularly older or already ailing relatives.

To make a decision, it is important to have a common understanding of what education is for. For instance, will we make well-rounded adults for the future? Rather, is it to create independent thinkers?

Do we expect education to be primarily a social setting, for learning how to interact with others? Alternately, it might be a way to provide that children are not at home, but they have someone looking out for the and keeping them out of trouble.

Another possibility is to train the next generation of work labor, to take their place on the rung of our economic ladder. Additionally, as a stepping-stone for future education, be it high school, or college, or graduate school, or night classes, etc.

It probably is some combination of all of these, and more. In short, what do you think is the primary purpose of schools? What is the purpose of education?

Related questions: How do you learn? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? How do you evaluate risk? Who was your best teacher?

How Will The Economy Be Impacted By COVID-19?

There are many questions surrounding the global pandemic due to COVID-19. In addition to the questions regarding containment, vaccines, deaths, and the like, is a very complicated issue: the economy.

There are multiple ways this might impact the global, as well as local, economy.

Short-Term Issues

The most direct problem has to do with interrupted supply chains. When a global economy meets a global pandemic, goods that would typically travel halfway around the world don’t get made. Work forces are incapacitated, travel restrictions are enacted, and end users are sick or on lockdown. As a result, buying and selling of goods doesn’t happen as it normally would.

In addition to that, uncertainty causes stock markets around the world to crash. In turn, this causes wealth to vanish and retirement funds to shrink.

Also, stay-at-home orders means travel companies like airlines and trains have few customers. Large gatherings being outlawed effectively put sports, theater, and music concerts out of operation. Restaurants and bars are restricted to delivery and take-out business. Non-essential businesses are closed.

Long-Term Issues

Whenever the crisis has passed and life returns to relative normality, there may well be many companies, small and large, that go out of business, leading to wide-scale unemployment. A global recession is possible, and maybe even likely.

To try and prevent too much economic hardship, governments are introducing stimulus bills. These may or may not work, but either way, they will add a large burden to the national debt of countries.

On top of everything else is the issue of the effect of the disease. There will be a significant number of worldwide illnesses and deaths. So, how will the loss of these people impact the economy? What will happen to health care workers and systems that have been stretched to — and often past — their limits?

It’s impossible to know what the future holds. But it is possible to think about trends, and to attempt to learn from past experiences. What do you think will happen to the local, national, and global economies? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19?

Related questions: What is your five year prediction? Ten? COVID-19? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What are you optimistic about?

What Is Uncomfortable But Rewarding?

There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.

These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.

Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.

Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.

What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?

Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?

 

If You Had An Assistant, What Would You Have Them Do?

What kinds of tasks would you like an assistant to help with? Are they things you don’t like doing, or would you just do even more of what you like?

Share why if you wish.