Tag Archives: purpose of education

What is your purpose and vision in life?

From the classic: What do you want to be when your older?

To the philosophical: What is the meaning of life?

We all need a purpose in life. A goal to thrive for; and a way to figure how to achieve it. This becomes particularly pertinent when discussing the purpose of education.

As a child, I wanted to be a firefighter. I did not want to be a footballer like many of my peers, because unlike them I knew I would never be the next Lionel Messi; but I did want to be a hero (and beside, I always liked the idea of the a firefighter). That idea was quickly put aside, and it turned to wanting to be in the army, but that was never going to be a realistic option for me. And then opportunities arose in leading youth work, and my passion to become a teacher arose relatively early on in my secondary education. Even at that age I had opportunities to lead groups, organise cross curricula events and even teach circus skills to children affected by the Chenobyl disaster. However I never considered my purpose in life would entail; and certainly not my philosophy of education.

“For the first time we are preparing students for a future we cannot clearly describe”

David Warlick

Holistic education is a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. We cannot embody the complete holistic view of education (surely another blog post on how free can we be in education will have to be considered later on); but Ron Miller (1990) does suggest we can have certain freedom within society. Yet Gove (2010) who states the Education department will “increase freedom and autonomy for all schools, removing unnecessary duties and burdens, and allowing all schools to choose for themselves how best to develop.” Still states that the education is all about jobs: education will “define our economic growth and our country’s future.”

Does this freedom encourage people to find their purpose in life, and discover how to achieve it?

Is there a middle ground between being free and having a job, whilst achieving ones own purpose?

Oliver Quinlan wrote how we should move away from preparing children for jobs to ‘helping people to find out what they want out of life.’ . Though this begins a whole new ball game with the need to provide rich and diverse experiences for children to explore, in order to find what their aspirations and purpose in life is.

Education is ugly. Both in its process and structure. But when an individual achieves their purpose, whether a good score on a test to becoming a forefront thinker in their profession, the achievement at the end seems so worthwhile.

We live in expontial times, in Britian the education culture is changing. Within all this cofusion, and mixed messages we are recieving from the State, we as educators need a purpose; a philosophy of our beliefs, backed up by solid evidence and our own experiences and reflections. Our philosophy and purposes may change, elvolve and adpat, and yes it should. I know my purpose is to be a teacher, I am gaining a degree to help me obtain my purpose; but now it is time to discover what is at the heart of my own philosphy of education, my vision and my values. A vision that will stay with me whereever I go, and allow me to value what is at the heart of all of this: the children.

What is your vision and values of education?

“From a holistic perspective, it is the dynamic interplay between freedom and structure that best educates a young person as he or she grows into this evolving world. If education is a response to a dynamic world, to the dynamic process of growth, discovery, evolution, and development, then teaching methods must not be rigidly fixed or prescribed. Education itself must become dynamic, spontaneous, self-organizing and emergent.” (Miller, 1990)


Department of Education. (2010) ‘The Importance of Teaching’. London:DfE

Miller, R. (1990) What Are Schools for?, Holistic Education Pr.

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