Saturday, December 18, 2010

Educating Adults

"Soul meets soul on lovers' lips." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

Excuse my sappy quote.

A couple days ago, I was telling my grandma about my English project. I informed her that the Chinese government employs over 30,000 people solely for the purpose of internet censorship.

She said "That doesn't seem like very many people, considering the size of China." I thought "There's a problem."

Adults focus so much on educating their children, and I won't contest that it's a worthy and vital goal.
However, some adults need education as well. There's so much more of the world since when my grandma's generation was in school. Unless they're like my dad and obsessively keeps up with news in science and technology, they're not going to learn things like how when it comes to the internet, size and location don't matter.

I would like to say "Nothing against my grandma, of course," but I think there truly is a problem. Most people think that once they've gotten their degrees, they're done learning and are set for life. Obviously, that's not the case.

Educated, knowledgeable citizens are the most important commodity that we should value. Of course, governments would prefer ignorance, seeing as how it is easier to control and get away with stuff. 

I'm not asking for adults to be continuously enrolled in a class or two at a community college (although that wouldn't hurt). I'm asking for them to be interested in learning, and to seek that information out for themselves. Listen to a podcast. Read the news. Talk to your grandchildren, not about how their day's been, but about the world as they see it.
In this case, actually, asking me how my day's been is completely useless because ever since this, I say "good," regardless of how it was. Not even "okay" is all right. If I say "my day was okay," the immediate reaction is "Oh no, what's wrong?" Nothing's wrong. I just had an okay day. So I say good and then don't have to worry about it.
I'd much rather talk about important, truthful things than little white lies, but many people her age have the mentality of "I don't understand what these young people are talking about, therefore I will smile and nod and pretend I do" instead of "I don't understand this. I think I'll ask questions and find out more."
The second is the one that should be used, and the second one is the mindset our teachers ask us to have. 

I leave you with this: Life is a continuous stream of learning. There is no "graduation." You may not go to a physical school anymore, but that doesn't mean there aren't teachers of other sorts, or "independent 'study' programs" that you can use.


  1. Well said, Olivia. I 100% agree! I am in a constant state of learning. If I could go back to school, I would...but you know once I start hearing people complain about studying for a test, I change my mind. :)

    I love learning. I find that I work with many people who think they know it all. I mean that literally (and figuratively). But they don't keep up with culture, technology, or anything that's been going on in the 21st century. Many have phds. Guess they think they've reached the top. Unfortunately for them, it just makes them look dumb in the eyes of someone like me. I guess it would include you too, which makes me very happy. :)

  2. BTW, I learn from my co-workers. I have co-workers with phds in psychology or human factors, which is not my background. I have such a strong interest in it and working with a few of them, they make it more interesting. They also learn from me. The fact that there are people in this world who think that they CAN learn from others is a wonderful thing.

    I learn a lot from you and your peers. How about "I lost the game!" I love that. I probably sound like a goofy, over-use the hip phrase mom now, as much as I can't stop referring to it...

  3. Another little tidbit about Chinese goverment you may not know. While my sister was there a couple of summers ago they had actually shut down all emails, videos, anything having to do with the internet. They asked a local guide and figured out they did this because it was a couple of days from the anverisy of a protest that went wrong (sorry I cannot recall the name). Just never thought about how many people actually worked on censorship... P.S. I agree with being a lifetime learner


Talk to me.