How Would Universal Education Change the Way People View Each Other? By: Lucia Brucoli
Going to school teaches how to analyze and evaluate cause and effect, therefore the consequences of our actions on people. School makes us question what we thought was true and develop general standards that guide us in future actions and evaluations. By giving intellectual and social skills, school aids us in creating our ‘self’, and hence see others as ‘selves’ to interact with within a human community.
The effect of education is a complicated subject. To ground this, I chose to analyze someone I deeply care about. She was only able to attend school until second grade, and though she now has built a good life for herself, you can see the consequences of a lack of education. She is very kind, caring for others. She is hardworking and always wants to learn. However, she has an elementary sense of self. If she was able to attend more school, this would have been different.
One of the most essential things school teaches is cause and effect. Though we all “see” it, the education system helps us understand it. How did this happen? Is this good? Why? How can I change if it isn’t? Critically reflecting on our actions makes us shift from concrete to abstract thought and come up with a general standard to evaluate what we do.
Critical thinking lets us be confident and self-reliant. We are able to discuss without necessarily needing other’s approval. My friend cannot do this: she needs someone to walk her through every task, explaining the whys and hows of every step. She needs approval after every action, as she was never taught how to evaluate results by herself. Without reflective skills and confidence in herself, she can only do practical work such as sewing and fixing objects: if it works, it is right. However, our lives are more complicated and we need general standards to apply in different circumstances.
At school, questioning our actions leads to questioning ourselves too. By clashing with everyone around us, as is common in adolescence, we develop a deep moral code. We learn to analyze and evaluate not only other’s behavior, but also ours’. In essence, we develop a sense of self.
After knowing and perceiving our sense of self comes the understanding that others have a ‘self’ too, complete with needs, feelings, and emotions. We begin to observe the deeper relationships between individuals, and are able discuss, negotiate, and compromise with others. We learn that our needs are not the only ones, but that we are part of a wider community.
Though there are many cognitive, emotional, and social milestones that children reach regardless of school, there are others that a universal, quality education would help develop. Universal education doesn’t simply change the way people view each other- it lets them “see” others as fully-developed selves. We understand that our community is made of different individuals who need to respectfully interact with each other so that not only we, but the whole community can grow.
Make sure to check out more of Lucia's writing at her website: luciabrucoli.com