Education

Definition of Education

 
 
In his 1828 work, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Webster defined education in this way:
 
"EDUCA'TION, noun [Latin educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable, and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."
 
Unfortunately, today’s education has drifted away from some of the elements of this definition. Could our current neglect of this holistic definition of education have something to do with the results we are seeing in our schools, the workplace, and in our communities today?
 
Here at NWEF, we think Americans must revisit the ideals of education addressed in Webster’s definition—and take personal responsibility and action as citizens to accomplish these ideals—in order to see lasting and positive educational change in our schools. The change is really up to us all!

Purpose of Education

 
These phrases are prominently featured in Webster’s definition of education:
 
“The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.”
 
Based on this definition, there are a few key purposes of education.
 
  1. To impart knowledge
  2. To develop character
  3. To equip students for a useful place in society
As we work with you toward education reform, these three purposes represent an excellent starting place in education. 
 
How can we as Americans transform our schools into places of knowledge-building, character development, and true equipping for life? That's the question we try to answer—and put into action—here at the Noah Webster Educational Foundation.
 
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