Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Up to date or out of date?

Us older people are aware of time.  It is easy to feel that most of our lives have already been lived and we watch the days and years go by knowing they are dwindling in number.  I guess what is called "a sense of history" is the feeling of knowing which era one is living in and what those before were reported to be like.  Of course, basic human longevity is extending and that alone makes us all think about life and time.  When a baby is born, how long will that person live?

Today, education by schools is getting to be an essential for a fairly happy and prosperous life.  We can say that the first twenty years of life are prior to maturity, sexual to some extent, financial for certain, and mental/emotional.  Those years seem to be a good time to spend on education.  The first idea of artificial, planned education was learning to read.  It took a long time and much argument and observation before America settled on spending public funds for schooling beyond elementary school.  Many people alive today can remember a time when "high school" was a questionable activity for an ambitious, energetic youngster.  Today, a very sizeable portion of Americans have some post-secondary schooling.  If we include all training programs, technical colleges, junior colleges and other formal and semi-formal instruction, probably more have some schooling in the post-secondary years than do not.

What is instruction, anyway?  We can say that formal instruction involves someone who will be responsible in some way for the learner's progress.  That is, there is a checker, a tester or an evaluator.  The usual conception is that we teach or learn, then there is a test of some sort, and we either "pass" or not.  If not, we may get a chance to learn again or more or more completely and be checked again or maybe we won't have another chance to take the test.

For many of our educational levels, passing the test or getting an adequate grade ends our concern with that level and the knowledge or skills or understandings related to that material taught there.  So, we don't usually ask a student who has graduated from high school to be 're-certified' in the courses already passed.  We don't usually ask a 30 year old to re-take a test in government bodies and rules that was successfullly passed at age 14.  

In some areas, such as marksmanship with a pistol, we may ask a student who has passed the police force test to take the test again, maybe repeating every three or five years.  In not quite the same way, we may ask a physician or a lawyer to take some sort of instruction a few years after being admitted to the practice but simply assume that the person, related authorities and teachers involved can fashion further instruction, often called "inservice education" that will alert the professional to new practices, equipment, theories or laws that related to the field.

What the instruction is, what the test and its specifications of that instruction are, what passing or failing the test means are all open to modification, research and argument.  They are also open to deterioration, manipulation, and aging.
Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby