Education: The Actual Doing of It

From kindergarten through twelfth grade, school seems reduced to hours of studying and getting grades. Between the countless teachers’ lectures, reading and researching, we might think that education consists of one activity: studying. In the end, studying does lead to an accumulation of knowledge. But, the question then arises: Is knowledge alone enough?

In his famous book, the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states: "Anything that we have to learn we learn by the actual doing of it. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate ones, brave by doing brave ones." Here Aristotle emphasizes the importance of action. He suggests that actions fuse knowledge into the essence of our being.

Following this line of thought further, we might want to completely reevaluate our understanding of education. Aristotle’s claim suggests that reading books and listening to lectures are examples of passive activities; that perhaps they are only the preparation for certain kinds of actions. Real education, then, requires integrating knowledge through actions.

Thanks to Aristotle, we have access to an alternative view of education. In this view, education requires a secure environment, distinct from the professional world with its enduring consequences; it requires a place where students can practice. Whether by building models, or by public speaking, students learn best in safe environments that allow them to practice what they’ve learned.

Action Based Learning

This model of education based on practice is part of a growing movement embodied by Makes Spaces and a revived focus on functional, vocational training. Recently the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage made a controversial statement regarding the value of teachers while unveiling a new partnership with the Cianbro Institute to promote hands-on learning and prepare students for the world outside the classroom.  

Promoting the value of mentoring LePage called it “more than just teaching out of a book.” While we support and agree with the importance of vocational training we also look to instill leadership and 21st Century Skills embodied in the idea of global citizenship in our students. One such program is Knovva Academy’s and GiantBug Foundation’s Model G20 Summit, which allow students not only to acquire knowledge, but also to put that knowledge into action. Perhaps we all need to give Aristotle’s model a try, and “learn by the actual doing of it".

About Knovva:  

Founded by impassioned educators, Knovva Academy prepares students for the 21st century using innovative technology along with experiential learning to teach teens about the world while helping them acquire skills for their future. Our mission is to enhance educational opportunities for students on a global scale through partnerships with prestigious schools, leading businesses, and local communities.