The Definition of a “Good” Education

Dear Readers,

Two blog posts ago I discussed the words that came to mind when I saw two men giving free education to impoverished, homeless, and orphaned children in India. As promised, I would like to continue the discussion.

Take a look at the first picture and the ones below. Then ask yourself this: “What is the true meaning of education?” “What is a ‘good’ education?”

Before I answer these questions myself, I will say that some of the greatest discussions and lessons have been in group circles with nothing but chairs. I actually remember being in my college poetry class and how my colleagues and I were so excited whenever we were able to have our session outside the classroom with nothing but the grass as our seats and our laps for our desks. Now I say, “whenever we were able” because we were not the only class with the same desire.

When I was a volunteer ESL teacher last year, I had nothing but flashcards, a 4 x 2 whiteboard on a pedestal and barley working markers. My classroom was in a small cafeteria with 15-20 students who I shared one bathroom with. And you know what? I couldn’t have been happier. And most importantly, they couldn’t have been happier and they couldn’t have learned any more than other students who were more “fortunate.” We were satisfied because the job got done.

So this brings me to what many may argue but what I believe in my heart and soul:

Education does not need technology

Education does not need desks

Education does not need rigorous and pointless testing

Education needs teaching from teachers, not computers

Education needs passion and compassion

Education needs care

Education needs teachers to be judged by the difference they make, not by test scores

Education needs love

Education needs individuality

You know, I sometimes feel that if we come from less, things that others take for granted will be worth so much more.

So, if you’re wondering about what makes a “good” education, just take a look at the faces of those young children and you’ll know.

Peace and Love,


Posted on January 13, 2014, in Education and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Brilliant…. I love this:) I agree that some will argue against this simplicity but it is education stripped back to its natural form. We live In a time when more and more crap is being added to the ‘ideal ‘ classroom… What a great reminder of what is important 🙂

    • Thank you very much! I do agree that as time goes on, the real importance of education seems to dwindle. I’m glad this post can be a reminder of what really matters :).

  2. Right on the money. Socrates and Plato would be honored to know you. All the money and all the technology could not put the broken egg of Humpty Dumpty Education back together again. It is the simple desire for learning that is important. That with a person who really wants to teach is the foundation of education.

  3. Bravo!!! This is so well written and I feel it comes straight from the heart. Very wise words. As an early childhood educator, I agree with every word you have written here. They are providing I pads for 2 and 3 year olds in preschool classes. It’s ridiculous, unnecessary and robs them of so much creativity, social interaction….oh I could go on.
    Thank you for this wonderful post! 🙂

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you agree. The iPad story just made me cringe. I completely agree that it robs students of creativity. It’s unnecessary and the funds can be used for things so much better.

  4. We have SO much in this part of the world and we value the wrong things. These boys are hungry to learn, knowing it will change their lives and There’s a difference between wisdom and knowledge and information – good teaching combines all 3 in ways that best equip the learner. Thank you Ariffa for helping us to see these truths.

  5. lovely post! so often we value the wrong things…thanks for the reminder

  6. This is brilliant! Spot on! Bravo!

  7. Great global reflection on the significance of empowering .

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