Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Learning For Its Own Sake

Yesterday, I read an entry at Paula Reed's blog about students cheating in various ways to get better grades, and the nervy parents who actually try to get their kids out of trouble for doing so.

In my reply to her, I noted that most people in our society do not value learning for its own sake. Education for them is all about grades, which are merely a means to an end; a "piece of paper" that will allow them access to more education, which leads to another piece of paper that will get them a job making good money. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good job, but education should be more than a merely utilitarian thing.

Many people do not read for the pleasure of learning something new and, fairly often, not even for entertainment. They view reading as work, and only do so for practical reasons. I think this is a sad thing. I've been to homes where there is no reading matter whatsoever: no books, no magazines, no newspapers. To me a house is not a home without books; a bookless home is a bleak place.

I've been able to read since I've been four years old and I've been reading ever since, to learn new things and for entertainment. Learning has been a lifelong process for me, and I expect to keep on expanding my mind until I die.


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