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THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Education ain’t sense


Rhonda Blackman

THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Education ain’t sense

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How many of us have heard the above words before? Well, as a young child my dad, a man of wisdom, had told me “education ain’t common sense” and I kept those words in the forefront of my mind right through my adulthood. Nonetheless, I have lived to prove his words of wisdom time and time again.
Education is defined as the “act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the power of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life”. Put succinctly, education is a way of life. Get it right: It is not all about “A is for apple or B for bat”, it is a way of living. Therefore as long as you are imparting knowledge, you are educating.
Quite recently a small pocket of academics huddled together discussing what constitutes the writing contents and methodologies of an educator. On hearing their responses I was flabbergasted and this set off a ripple of questions in my head. What is an educator? What really is education? Is education common sense?
Many people are of the opinion that education exists only behind the four walls of a room. It is sad to say that our society has influenced our thinking to believe that educators are persons who hold doctorial, masters or bachelor degrees. Persons have mistakenly made education and academia synonymous. This is far from the truth. Education is extremely wide and all-embracing and comes in different forms and at variant levels. We can learn from the average man on the street or even a young child.
We do not only educate by using “big” words. A true educator will use language that is appropriate and pitch the style and tone of his/her writing to effectively reach the audience. I posit the writing must capture the audience intended. There is a time and place for academic writing.
Let me emphatically state that this is a global world and the classroom has now broadened to become universal, encompassing distance learning and even this humble column, the Open Haversack.
Sometimes people become so caught up in the realm of academia that they lose sight of the real world around them; they refuse to allow common sense to prevail. They become so “book learnt” that they cannot transfer the knowledge, competence and skills gained to all aspects of daily living. This behaviour clearly exemplifies the words of my deceased dad: “Education ain’t common sense.”
We are all educators in our own right, sharing our skills and expertise with others. Teach our children that they too can educate.
The Open Haversack will continue to be a conduit, a learning environment that seeks to educate the public, parents and children on societal, familial and educational issues using language that is appropriate to every cohort.
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” – Marian Wright Edelman.
• Rhonda Blackman is an educator, a reviewer with the British Research Journal and a member of the American Education Research Association.
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