The Purpose of Education: One's Own Values

Hasmik Ghazaryan

The most incomprehensible things among the goals of education are the talks on educating values in learners. Who will determine the values which should be brought up in the new generation? Are the values of definite nature let alone the way of bringing them up? Our world is constantly changing, and the values, respectively. But we still speak of bringing up values.

The problem is undoubtedly worth paying attention. Aren’t the school years the best period of time for the values to be formed and strengthened in a person? Does a child live anywhere else for as much as at school? Values are formed in the environment not by instilling them. A person accepts the values which are dictated by the society, the environment: as a form of manifestation of moral relationships in the society. So no matter the school wants it or not, it will instill its values. Let's observe the values professed by the school. The school (also the private one) gets the right of its existence from the state. The state defines the style of school functioning, sets standards, obliges a curriculum, approves programs and textbooks. Sometimes it is hard to understand how much they are purposeful and necessary and what results should be expected. But they are obligatory, and their teaching is subject to verification. The evidence of that is periodic reviews at schools, examinations at the end of each school year, a joint exam, and other such things that keep the school institution with its community in tension. In order to survive and to be praised the staff in charge for the school sets a goal to solve these very problems. At best, the values for the school become pleasing the officials in order to be worth being praised by them or even to be materially awarded. Pressures from the Ministry and its affiliated institutions are reflected on the pedagogical staff and the learners by the school administration.

So what values do learners see?

·         We should please the ones who assess us.

·         We should do our best to be worth high assessment.

·          We should reject those who do not qualify for high assessments and be intolerant towards them.

 In other words, the following become values: selfishness, pleasing the assessor by doing what he dictates and not nolerating those who fail to do so. So the preachments like fatherland, nation, culture and liberty remain preachments as they initially were.

This situation is the result of officializing the school, this is the result of subordinating the learner, and the main tool of this process of subordination is assessment. This is the result of judging the new generation wishing to get to know the world. Your value is what you assess.        

  The transformation of values, as noted by French renowned writer and philosopher Albert Camus in his essay the "Man in revolt", means  replacing the judge's value with the value of the creator. The value of the school is the ability to bring up a loyal, obedient, ready to repeat and performing person.

If the school is a place for living and developing, its main value should be love towards children, love towards one another and the world. There should also exist respect for each learner's abilities and choice.   

Any person's values should be independence and skills of orientation. We can achieve that with our free choice and the right of making mistakes. We should have the right to decide whether to learn from our mistakes or not. This is a natural state of being based on natural relationships which doesn't tolerate any assessment, any grades for academic achievements.    

If I were asked which is the main achievement of the ″Mkhitar Sebastatsi″ Educational Complex, I would say: loving and respectful attitude towards a person, tolerance being the main value.  

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi

The modern world has created a huge storehouse of information. There is no need to burden  the memory. Many actions, which were considered to be professions, are now done by machines. We feel the tendency to relieve man of mechanical work. A human being has the ability to think, and he just has to be creative. What will he create? What will he believe in,  what will he serve for and what will he multiply? To understand all these one should have an investigating, discovering, comprehending, judging mind. Do we value these very qualities?

In my opinion, in order to bring up values we should let a person understand himself. This is fostered by the open and changing environment in the “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex. The learner’s subject for research becomes the world through educational trips and outdoor lessons. And the enthusiasm comes with discussions on various topics, from literature to public issues. A creative teacher decides at what moment and what to make the subject of general research and discussion, taking into account the student's initiative and valuing his choice.  It is the person who has grown up in freedom of choice and in the atmosphere of love that does not reconcile with the values imposed on him or incomprehensible to him. With this respect, we can't help but agree with Alber camus' statement in his above mentioned essay, that if a man does not want to get lost in a tangle of imposed values, he should cut them off and create his own values.



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