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Visions Of Hope: Education

"Over the years I have been impressed with the intellectual qualities of our fellows, post-graduates and undergraduates. University College is one of the top academic Oxford colleges, usually performing well in the Norrington table, until it was abolished recently. However I sometimes wonder if we are too one-sided in our system of education,'' writes William Sykes.

Education—bringing up (youngpersons); giving intellectual and moral training; development of character or mental powers.

A quotation about higher education (which I've been unable to track down) suggests we are in danger of producing intellectual giants who remain spiritual and emotional pygmies.

Over the years I have been impressed with the intellectual qualities of our fellows, post-graduates and undergraduates. University College is one of the top academic Oxford colleges, usually performing well in the Norrington table, until it was abolished recently. However I sometimes wonder if we are too one-sided in our system of education. The emphasis tends to be on developing critical and analytical skills, and the powers of reason and the intellect. In formal education, the spiritual dimension barely gets a mention, and we even seem to have abandoned responsibility for moral training and development of character. As a chaplain, most of the problems that come before me are emotional in essence, and as an academic institution we do very little in the realm of educating feelings. It is largely left to the individual. Our main task is training the mind in one particular academic discipline.

Reflection groups are an attempt to educate the 'whole' person. They are based on the original meaning of the Latin word educere—to draw out, lead out—and concentrate on developing latent gifts and talents. A typical reflection group meets for an hour a week, chooses a topic, mulls over the contents in silence and then talks it through. Much is learned from the other members of the group. The intellectual content is still present, but the spiritual and moral contents are also there, and development of character takes place unconsciously. The reflection group thus makes its contribution in the academic institution which aims to educate the whole person, body, mind and spirit.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8

The wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding acquire skill.
Proverbs 1:5

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. The Jews marvelled at it, saying, 'How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?'
John 7:14-15

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.
Colossians 1:27-29

Learning is its own exceeding great reward.
William Hazlitt, The Plain Speaker', in The Collected Works of William Hazlitt,}M. Dent & Co., 1903, volume VH, page 320

Unemployment has dealt us a stunning and crushing blow... there is little motivation... truancy is high.
Headmaster of a Midlands Comprehensive, in Faith in the City, Church House Publishing, 1985, page 293

... he is perfectly educated who is taught all the will of God concerning him, and enabled, through life, to execute it.
Thomas Arnold, Sermons, Longmans, Green, and Co., volume III, xvi, page 131

The highest education is that which teaches us to guide ourselves by motives which are intangible, remote, incapable of direct and material appreciation.
Mark Rutherford, More Pages From a Journal, Oxford University Press, 1910, page 220

A child is not educated who has not physical education, social education, intellectual education, industrial education, professional education, spiritual education.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 76

The task of religious education is to fashion a religious life-style, and to nurture in people that creative spirit of love that will help them to grow up and live wisely without a rule-book.
Roy Stevens, On Education and the Death of love, Epworth Press, 1978, page 136

... if but the teacher be himself virtuous or musical—an exemplar as such, he will be keenly follow'd, and often in his love that his pupil surpass him is his best reward.
Robert Bridges, The Testament of Beauty, iv. 685, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1930, page 160

A man is a great bundle of tools. He is born into this life without the knowledge of how to use them. Education is the process of learning their use, and dangers and troubles are God's whetstones with which to keep them sharp.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 9

Education, by that I understand not merely the imparting of knowledge, but the drawing out of the powers of the mind, spirit, and body; the evoking of a reverence for the truth, and the use of the imagination in its pursuit.
Michael Ramsey, in Margaret Duggan, editor, Through the Year with Michael Ramsey, Hodder and Stoughton, 1975,
page 215

Education ought to teach how to be in love always and what to be in love with. The great things of history have been done by the great lovers, by the saints and men of science and artists; and the problem of civilisation is to give every man a chance of being a saint, a man of science, or an artist.
A. Clutton Brock, The Ultimate Belief, Constable and Company, 1916, page 99

... the modern educationalist is forever pointing out that educere means to lead forth, or to draw out, a student's potentiality, as opposed to the old-style education that was content to stuff a head full of presumed facts. If there is any analogy with spiritual direction, then it is very up-to-date indeed, for this has always been its aim; to develop innate gifts and graces.
Martin Thornton, Spiritual Direction, SPCK, 1984, page 11

The primary object of all religious education today, as of Bible reading, is to open the door into this Bible experience of God, so that its wealth of religious experience, the achievements of its creative personalities, and its enduring religious insight may become available to living people today; and so that the spiritual power of the same living God may be released into the modern world.
J.N. Schofield, Introducing Old Testament Theology, SCM Press, 1966, page 11

Ordinary, secular education, as it deals only with the comprehensible, puts the pupil in a wrong position. He has to do with nothing which may not be mastered, and becomes insensible to that which is beyond. Worse—he is affected only by reasons which appeal to his understanding, by what is immediate, and his conduct is not governed, as it so often should be, by that which is intangible, shadowy, and remote.
Mark Rutherford, Last Pages From a Journal, Oxford University Press, 1915, page 279

The development of general ability for independent thinking and judgment should always be placed foremost, not the acquisition of special knowledge. If a person masters the fundamentals of his subject and has learnt to think and work indepen-dently, he will surely find his way and besides will be better able to adapt himself to progress and changes than the person whose training principally consists in the acquiring of detailed knowledge.
Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, Thames and Hudson, 1950, page 36

The purpose of education is not simply the transmission of information but the bringing into being of persons of responsibility and integrity who, in a world of persons and things, can be instruments of a love which, in the words of Paul Tillich, 'moves everything toward everything else that is.' The educator's responsibility is to recognize that each single unique person is the bearer of a special task of being which can be fulfilled through him and him alone.
Reuel L. Howe, The Miracle of Dialogue, The Saint Andrew Press, 1969, page 77

The word 'relaxation' is vital. Somehow we must help students to relax, to get away from the worry, to get off the excess alcohol and the cigarettes, and rest creatively so that they can work better. Relaxation, deep meditation, physical movement as therapy: things like these can lead us, for part of our education time, away from the over-stressed intellect towards wholeness of mind and body and a sense of the body's grandeur. Keats spoke of 'diligent indolence'. It is a largely unrecognized educational virtue.
Roy Stevens, Education and the Death of Love, Epworth Press, 1978, page 103

This silence without which no enduring progress can be built must enter into all education that is worthy of the name: it is the reason why climbing or walking or sailing should come, if possible, into the life of every child:
'The thought of death sits easy on the man
Who has been born and dies among the mountains.'
Some people, out of strength or weakness, come to love such solitude as the breath of life. Many, strangers to their own souls, shun it with fear. But the well-strung creature, finds in it a tonic, a pause from which he comes refreshed. With the mountain air still in his eyes and feet, he is happy to return from the wilderness and to find himself again among the paths and dwellings and habits, the rites and symbols which in their long trail of history have made him what he is.
Freya Stark, Perseus in the Wind, John Murray, 1948, page 7

... A Church which seeks to take seriously its mission to the nation's young people will wish to uphold a system of schooling in which young people are helped to realise their human potential implanted by God, attain maturity and be prepared for life in the wider community.
Education has a part to play in making human self-centredness less disastrous. The capacity to grasp and experience the redemptive work of Christ is fundamental to the task of the Church. Although the maintained sector of education cannot be in the business of evangelising in the full sense, the Church... in partnership, must have commitment to a school system which allows the fullest possible individual development. It must seek to exercise its influence in upholding within the system an organisation, ethos and learning environment which reflects the reality of the presence of the living God in all. The Church must also speak out when it believes that what it holds to be precious is under threat.
Faith in the City, Church House Publishing, 1985, page 293

I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called education people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from fiction.
The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals.
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.
Martin Luther King, The Words of Martin Luther King, selected by Coretta Scott King, William Collins Sons & Co.,
1986, page 41

How far is this or that kind of education giving a chance for the appreciation of religion—the attitude of religion—to form itself and grow in a child's mind? It is not simply a question of whether this or that is being taught; it is a question of what modes of thought, what processes of knowing and appreciation are being elicited, and what ideas about life and its purpose are being stimulated.
There is the tragic fact that a good deal of education gives little or no place to the processes of thought, knowledge, and imagination whereby religion can be appreciated. The mind is stuffed with facts, but the use of the imagination in wonder and in the sense of mystery is not evoked.
The mind is trained to approach knowledge exclusively along one or two tracks, the tracks of science or technology: and to a mind so trained the language of religion is a foreign language conveying little or nothing.
We must face the fact that there are thousands of young people so educated that our problem is not just that they don't know the Christian faith, but that their minds are so formed that it is the hardest thing for the Christian faith to be intelligible to them.
The attitude of religion is in large part the sense of wonder: wonder at man, wonder at the marvel of his capacities and his frailties; wonder at man as he learns about the universe around him, and uses and misuses his knowledge. Hence we pass from wonder about man to wonder about the world with its astonishing range of content from atom to saint, and then to wonder about the Maker, both of man and of the world.
Michael Ramsey, in Margaret Duggan, editor, Through the Year with Michael Ramsey, Hodder and Stoughton, 1975,
page 127


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