Today I watched the following video about education: Education as a Process!
I LOVE this video! It is so simple, yet so true. Education is not about arriving at a destination, education is a PROCESS that, when participated in correctly, should last a lifetime. Yet, we approach education as though there is an end point. My partner often refers to how anti-climactic the educational process was. She was completely convinced (as a young person) that when she obtained her PhD she would feel as though she had “arrived.” However, when the time actually arrived and her degree was granted, she realized that she knew “a lot about nothing.” She was disappointed. In her case, she also had a doctorate in a field that was hard to transfer into a job, something she had not thought about while on that higher education train.
This reality has me thinking. In my chosen field (education) one really does need a PhD or an EdD to compete for the administrative jobs. There are those very talented individuals who do find themselves in leadership positions without the higher degrees, but there are fewer and fewer. Keeping that in mind, I realize that one day in the not so distant future I am going to have to begin work on my doctorate. This is a daunting thought for me. The education is not daunting, I LOVE to learn, what is daunting is the thought of finding the right program for me. I do not want to enroll in a program that is a means to an end – I do not want to spend money on a program that believes that I must “arrive” at a specific destination. I want to find a program that encourages me to learn, that challenges me to learn and that keeps me learning long after I have earned a title that allows me to be called “Dr.”
I am encouraged by programs such as Harvard’s Ed.L.D. program. These programs are focusing on synthesizing theory with practice, with an emphasis on a learning residency, not a long paper which will one day sit on a shelf. I appreciate that schools are beginning to understand the need for residency based doctoral degrees for those who want careers in the field, not in research.
As I continue to look for graduate schools, I have this program in the back of my mind. With 1,000 + applicants for 25 spaces, I am realistic about my chances of getting accepted specifically to Harvard (of course, I will be trying!) Yet, as I look at doctoral programs, I now do so with a discerning eye, asking what I will gain from the educational process, as I want more than the title at the end.
I hope that more students in the future will demand a worthy process so that they can gain knowledge and skills on the way to that title, rather than jumping through hoops with only the title as the end goal.
Today, 87 days ’til 40, I seek to continue the educational process throughout my lifetime and I hope my children and the children I help educate embrace similar values as they mature and become active contributors to society.