Who Says… We Need A Well-Rounded Education?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-01-26.

A well-rounded education is not the same as getting a good education.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: Ecc. 12:12

We often hear about students having to obtain a well-rounded education, but probably have never taken the time to ask what, exactly, does that mean! My first impression of making students “rounded” is that we must first assume that they are square to begin with! We have all heard the old saying that “you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole”, but we forget that it can actually be done, but only by force and not without trimming off some edges. Even then the resulting “rounded” student will be a bad fit. Sounds a bit familiar to our experience with school?

We have already talked about the impossibility of having a general standard expectation for children as they never seem to fit the mold. Assuming that every child will be interested in the same things is hard enough to understand, but when we discover that what needs to be learned to be well-rounded is determined by a distant and disconnected third party, we can seriously question what the result will be. What is meant by well-rounded, anyway?

Once again, we can only understand this concept is we disengage from God’s creation and assume we all just happened to be born with chance directing the process. This way we can understand that children are blank slates that need to be programmed into something useful. From this perspective, we can understand the underlying desire to have students know a little about a lot of things which is what is meant by a well-rounded education. The problem with this foundation is that it is wrong! Children are not blank slates and they cannot be made into something God never intended in the first place. Not everybody understands or needs algebra or chemistry or Shakespeare to be fully functional human beings. Besides, if God left out musical talent in a child, is it not a bit presumptuous of us to assume that we can put it in?

Those of us who have been “well-rounded” in our education would be the first to say that the only things we do remember from all that rounding, are those things that have a meaningful application in our lives today. I am not saying that children should not be exposed to as many learning opportunities in as broad a range of interests as possible, but that they need only to be exposed. Let them run with what interests them. Otherwise they will demonstrate that they love their mother (teacher/guide) and that they are smart enough to “memorize” rather than “master” the information to beat the test and to forevermore forget what they “learned”. Well-rounded or well-rehearsed?

Who says that we need a well-rounded education? Those who have great faith in their own very limited ability to create something of children they had nothing to do with creating in the first place. We don’t need a well-rounded education. What we need is to provide opportunity to learn what interests them while encouraging students to be well-grounded in their faith.

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