Name: Instructor: Course: Date: R.S. Peters: The Concept of Education In his essay, “Criteria of Education,” R.S. Peters’ concedes the difficulty of formulating a precise definition of the concept of education. ‘Education’ is a very general term, used in a variety of contexts…
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An essential aspect of education is the willingness, or voluntariness, of the learner. Peters attempts to elucidate the concept of education by formulating the four criteria which characterize the processes involved in ‘being educated.’ By his own admission, Peters formulates his criteria as a “guide,” and not as a “definitive statement” of law (2). Taken in this perspective, his criteria for ‘being educated’ appear very reasonable. Peters’ lists four criteria which are essential for a process to satisfy the concept of education: education involves a body of knowledge and an understanding of associated principles; education implies a transformation of outlook; education involves caring and commitment; education must have a cognitive perspective. Peters’ four criteria succeed in giving us a very clear idea of the concept of ‘being educated,’ although they cannot be accepted as absolutely categorical. The first criteria laid down by Peters, to which the processes of education must conform, is the possession of knowledge and an understanding of underlying principles. ...
The knowledge possessed by an educated person cannot be just “a collection of disjointed facts” (8). Peters clearly differentiates between training and education: training is “equipping people with necessary skills for a job” (7). Education has another dimension than mere training. Training can have educational value, but the concept of education transcends the mere acquisition of skills. Peters categorically states that the objective of education is not extrinsic: extrinsic objectives, such as making the learner job-worthy, fall under the ambit of training. On the other hand, the objectives of education are intrinsic, including “the development of individual potentialities --- intellect and character” (5). In differentiating between training and education, Peters now leads into his second criterion, which is based on the change brought about by education. According to Peters’ second criteria, ‘being educated’ brings about a change in the outlook of the educated person. He elucidates the kind of knowledge which an educated man must possess, in order to be called ‘educated,’ and not just ‘knowledgeable’. The knowledge acquired by an educated person is active, and his “outlook is transformed by what he knows” (9). This knowledge comes to characterize his way of looking at things, and does not exist in isolation from the other spheres of his life. In other words, Peters’ emphasizes that the knowledge possessed by an educated person is not inert: it is actively applied to every aspect of that person’s life. Peters’ concept of the ‘active’ nature of education is also marked by another characteristic, which forms his next criteria. Peters’ third criteria is closely
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