Purpose of Formal Education

Formal education is learning which happens in a classroom, with the facilitation of an instructor.  This can be juxtaposed with informal learning, which comes from experiences outside of the classroom.  Vahia (2014)discusses several benefits of formal education:

1) It provides us with a deep and systematic insight into specific aspects of learning, a very broad world view, and a comprehensive vocabulary and understanding of the complexities of ourselves and the world around us
2) It gives us confidence that no knowledge is magical and can be acquired if we are to have the necessary desire and patience; it gives us the necessary discipline in our life to plan and organize ourselves and our activities; it gives a certain methodology to thinking
3) It makes us realize that learned men and women are people who have spent a lot of time studying the subject they have specialized in; it makes us capable of expressing ourselves to create new understanding
4) It helps us to understand fine arts in a manner that goes beyond a superficial response of share emotions
5) It teaches the need for rigor which is central to clear thinking
In the United States, both public and private formal education provide the scaffolding and specialization necessary to obtain these benefits.  It ensures commonalities in skills and expertise when entering the workforce.  But formal learning by itself would certainly fall short without the incorporation of knowledge gained informally – the context of our culture, where we grow up, what our values bring to our perspectives, and so on.  I believe this is why there is new understanding that real-world relevancy in daily lessons helps to enhance the formal environment and engage learners in the process.
Bahia, M.  (2014, September 5).  Teacher’s Day: Is formal education really necessary?  Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/standpoint-teacher-s-day-is-formal-education-really-necessary-2016461

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