The True Purpose of Education

What is the true aim of education? To learn skills that will make us more employable or able to command better salaries? To develop our minds and our powers of reasoning? The answer of this noted activist and teacher may surprise you. Find out what he has to say here:

The end and aim of all education is the development of character.
–Francis W. Parker

Education has to go to the roots of the personality and effect change, transforming attitudes, dispositions, and the fundamental commitment of the individual. The Greeks, from which so much of the Western tradition is derived, placed great emphasis on the development of character, and this goal was the chief rationale for sports and Olympic competition. The medieval Christian ideal of learning also focused on the education of the whole person: body, soul, and spirit. In the East, Tibetan tradition places great emphasis on the good heart, and this good heart is the aim of much Buddhist practice and education. The author’s uncle, John Cosgrove, himself a college professor, used to say, “Our universities are filled with people who have brilliant minds but stupid hearts!” We simply pay too much attention to facts and skills and not enough to fostering responsibility, ethics, charity, and kindness.

Adapted from The Mystic Hours, by Wayne Teasdale (New World Library, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by Wayne Teasdale. Reprinted by permission of New World Library.
Adapted from The Mystic Hours, by Wayne Teasdale (New World Library, 2004).


Chad A.
Chad Anderson4 years ago

As a teacher, there is very little I can do to get students to learn information they do not want to know. I can provide a positive role model, help students find their own role models, and seek the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will help them achieve what they want in their lives. Character is a key element in this process on both sides.

Hello G.
Hello G.4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Niarica L.
Niarica L.6 years ago


Niarica L.
Niarica L.6 years ago