“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela)

education, mandela

Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013)

This is Nelson Mandela’s most famous quote on education. It is closely related to an understanding of education as transformative learning, which combines learning for knowing (head), doing (hands), and being (heart), and fuses them into learning for personal and social transformation.

This is a very viable understanding of education in the era of accelerating and deepening global change. Of course we and the world constantly change, and change one another. This has always been true, but never more so than today as globalization increases our interdependence. Everything we do and fail to do changes the world.

This inseparability of cognition, normativity, and action has been pointed out by many great thinkers throughout the ages, from Aristotle to Martin Luther King, Jr., E. F. Schumacher, and David Orr today.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. (Aristotle)

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Teaching that impacts is not head to head but heart to heart. (Howard G. Hendricks)

I would like to close with the words of E. F. Schumacher: “Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence. For it is our central convictions that are in disorder, and, as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse. Education, far from ranking as [our] greatest resource, will then be an agent of destruction . . . .” I think these words are prophetic. It is time to address the ecological emergency as, in fact, a crisis of mind and of education. (David Orr)

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