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Defining the Term

June 26, 2019
By Jay Adams

I teach my students about "defining the terms of the argument." It's important, because nearly every time I find myself in an argument, the root of the problem is the fact that two people are defining the same word differently.

Some relationships fail because the parties involved mean two different things by the word "love." Politically, we argue a lot because we often mean very different things when we use terms like "patriotism" or "freedom." I bet some of you have had interesting discussions with your children because you both mean something different when you use the word "curfew" or "responsibility."

Education suffers from this phenomenon as well, I think. Unless we define "education" very carefully, it's possible that our campus will have hundreds of people on it, all meaning something very different when we use the word. And that can only lead to confusion.

So I want to be very clear about what I mean when I talk about education:

Education is the never-ending process of learning how to live well.

Test scores help us evaluate how we're doing in the classroom, of course. Algebra is a part of education, certainly. So is US history, and biology, and 4th grade literature.

But we also have to include athletics, and the lunchroom, and how we treat each other in the hallways. Test scores matter for things that are easy to measure, but true education also includes completely abstract things.

I was fascinated this week by this study from LinkedIn that discussed the skills modern employers value most in their employees. It fascinated me because none of them could possibly be measured effectively by a traditional test. That article is well worth a read, but if you just want the list, here they are:

  1. Time Management

  2. Adaptability

  3. Collaboration

  4. Persuasion

  5. Creativity

These things have begun to matter more and more than credentials for a very simple reason: as a college diploma becomes near-universal, it loses its value as a signal of accomplishment.  

In fact, the article points out that Google, Apple, IBM, and Bank of America no longer require applicants to have a college degree.

This means that we must prepare Edgewood students for college, certainly –but we would be failing in our mission to education them for a life well-lived if we didn't also focus on the skill sets employers now value above a solid GPA and college diploma.

I look forward to getting the staff back on campus in July, so we can begin talking about how to be intentional in working these concepts into the lessons and assessments we provide our students.

As always, thanks for trusting us with your children.

 

JA

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