Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quotes on Education

From the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Education:

In the broadest sense, education includes all those experiences by which intelligence is developed, knowledge acquired, and character formed. In a narrower sense, it is the work done by certain agencies and institutions, the home and the school, for the express purpose of training immature minds.

The child is born with latent capacities which must be developed so as to fit him for the activities and duties of life. The meaning of life, therefore, of its purposes and values as understood by the educator, primarily determines the nature of his work. Education aims at an ideal, and this in turn depends on the view that is taken of man and his destiny, of his relations to God, to his fellowmen, and to the physical world.

The content of education is furnished by the previous acquisition of mankind in literature, art, and science, in moral, social, and religious principles. The inheritance, however, contains elements that differ greatly in value, both as mental possessions and as means of culture; hence a selection is necessary, and this must be guided largely by the educational ideal.

It will also be influenced by the consideration of the educative process. Teaching must be adapted to the needs of the developing mind....
It goes on to make some points about general principles:
* Intellectual education must not be separated from moral and religious education
* Religion should be an essential part of education; it should form not merely an adjunct to instruction in other subjects, but the centre about which these are grouped and the spirit by which they are permeated.
* Sound moral instruction is impossible apart from religious education.
* An education which unites the intellectual, moral and religious elements is the best safeguard for the home, since it places on a secure basis the various relations which the family implies.
* Far from lessening the need of moral and religious training, the advance in educational methods rather emphasizes that need. .
* Catholic parents are bound in conscience to provide for the education of their children, either at home or in schools of the right sort.
And about the secularization of schools:
Once the schools were secularized, they fell readily under influences which transformed ideals, systems, and methods. Philosophy detached from theology formulated new theories of life and its values, that moved, at first slowly then more rapidly away from the positive teachings of Christianity. Science in turn cast off its allegiance to philosophy and finally proclaimed itself the only sort of knowledge worth seeking. The most serious practical result was the separation of moral and religious from purely intellectual education — a result which was due in part to religious differences and political changes, but also in large part to erroneous views concerning the nature and need of moral training. Such views again are in general derived from the denial, explicit or implicit, of the supernatural order and of its meaning for human life in its relations to God; so that, during three centuries past, the main endeavour outside the Catholic Church has been to establish education on a purely naturalistic basis, whether this be ├Žsthetic culture or scientific knowledge, individual perfection or social service.

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