The keywords essays on “Education” by Elisabeth Rose Gruner demonstrate the evolution of how the main keyword “education” is defined through the years. The Oxford English Dictionary describes education as “the systematic instruction, schooling, or training given to the young in preparation for the work of life” (70). There are two forms of education which are a vocational and liberal education. While vocational education is heavily focused on preparing for people to enter the workplace, liberal education empowers personal enrichment. Either type of education shares the primary goal which is mentoring people into a beneficial contributor to society. The concept of education is represented by the American Indian Stories and a popular book, Harry Potter.

American Indian Stories is a collection of childhood stories written by Zitkala-Sa and Sioux. The stories chronicle the lives of a girl who experience difficulties while going to a boarding school as a Native American. Before attending school, she used to live with her mom. She learns most of the traits and housework from her mom. The personal values and skills that Zitkala-Sa learns from her mom is to respect elders, be patience, hospitality, perform domestic tasks. This is known as a liberal education. Later on, she goes to a boarding school that has a strictly ruled system which is completely different from the way she learns from her mom. She is forced to change her hairstyle, the way she dressed and she has to speak English. There would be physical punishment if the students do not follow the rules and misbehavior. The purpose of this is to alter people into a popular ideal figure of a white person. As a result, Kitkaka is transformed into a civilized woman with the skills to benefits society.

Similar to Kitkaka, the main character Harry Potter also become a better wizard after he attends school. They teach him how to control his magic and use it for the right purpose. Through the many lesson and event at school, he finds himself become better and better when using his power. These thing has never been taught before he has an association with education. Through his time there, he learns to be brave, to face his darkest fear and forming friendships. Harry Potter is discipline and learns to use his magic appropriately. Clearly, education is represented as a ladder for people to climb to fulfill their purpose of becoming a productive and successful figure in society.

The keyword “education” can be seen clearly in both American Indian Stories and Harry Potter. Although these two books take place in a different historical and cultural context, they share a similar hardship when attending school for the first time. Afterward, the main character all learn how to be productively contribute to society and help to build them. Furthermore, these books have small lesson into the text to teach children good personal quality that everyone should have. Education is powerful because it broadens our knowledge about the world around us and helps us to develop a diverse perspective of our life.

1 thought on “Education”

  1. I think your thoughts on how both characters experience Education are interesting. I would argue perhaps that these characters offer two very different forms of education however. The school that is described in the American Indian Stories represents a repressive and racist notion of what formal education should be like. Instead of empowering Kitkaka, the school strips away her identity. In Harry Potter, Harry finally feels that he’s found a home when he arrives at Hogwarts. The school empowers him to go on an do good in the world. I would argue that these two examples actually show very different ideas of what formalized education means in varying contexts.

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