False dichotomies of education that we must strive to overcome
Let us consistently aim to balance and achieve complementary ends both in theory and in practice
Should education develop children’s capacity to question things in society or their capacity to contribute constructively? Posed in this manner, it is almost certain that most will say education must do both. But in the practice of education, one of these objectives often gets far more importance. There are those educators and institutions that, in practice, are far too focused on the capacity to question, while there are others (perhaps a larger proportion) that don’t think about it at all. Young people who have only learnt to question and not contribute are dysfunctional; on the other hand, those who are educated to be unquestioning contributors can hardly improve the world. These are two extremes that emphasize that education must do both—in theory and in practice. There are many such complementary matters which are too often perceived to be dichotomies. Good education must account for all these matters, and not make choices between them because these are false choices. Let’s consider some of these.