"Education", says Aristotle,” is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body". It encompasses in itself the all round development of an individual. The success of spreading education to the widest possible area lies in the way it is imparted. With the ever changing technology scenario, the methods of imparting education too have been undergoing changes. But education itself is an age old process, rather as old as the human race itself. It was man's education through Nature, our greatest teacher, that he learned how to make fire by rubbing stones or invented the wheal to make tasks easier. Education in real earnest helps us in restraining the objectionable predisposition in ourselves. The aims of education have been categorized variously by different scholars. While Herbert Spencer believed in the 'complete-living aim', Herbart advocated the moral aim. The complete living aim signifies that education should prepare us for life. This view had also been supported by Rousseau and Mahatma Gandhi. They believed in the complete development or perfection of nature. All round development has been considered as the first and foremost aim of education. At the same time education ensures that there is a progressive development of innate abilities. Pestalozzi is of the view “Education is natural, harmonious and progressive development of man’s innate powers.” Education enables us to control, give the right direction and the final sublimation of instincts. It creates good citizens. It helps to prepare the kids for their future life. Education inculcates certain values and principles and also prepares a human being for social life. It civilizes the man. The moral aim of Herbart states that education should ingrain moral values in children. He is of the view that education should assist us in curbing our inferior whims and supplant them with superior ideas. This moral aim has also been stressed upon by Gandhiji in the sense of formation of character. The preachers of this aim do not undermine the significance of knowledge, vocational training or muscular strength. But simultaneously they have also laid stress on their view that the undisclosed aim of education is to assist development of moral habits. Then there is the social aim which means that education should produce effective individuals in the sense that they realize their responsibilities towards the society. And we all know that man is a social being. The interactive ability is a must as it is through interaction that we come to know of our responsibilities. Edmund Burke asks and he himself answers: "What is education? A parcel of books? Not at all, but an intercourse with the world, with men and with affairs." Only bookish knowledge takes a child nowhere. It should be further perfected by practical usage with experience. "Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man" is a pithy and precise statement in which the essayist Francis Bacon sums up the advantages of studies. Even Wordsworth in his poem ‘The Tables Turned’ advocated against bookish knowledge.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.
Wordsworth was a die-hard naturalist. He wanted man to consider Nature his teacher. Naturalists believe that instincts of the child should be taken as the basis of education. The child should have freedom. Rabindra Nath Tagore was of the opinion that child should be left free in order to gather experience and to understand his own mistakes and shortcomings. The twentieth century saw the emergence of the concept of Pragmatism. Charles Pierce was the first man to introduce the concept of pragmatism in his philosophy. Later on it was popularized by John Dewey, William James, Kilpatrick and Schiller. They believed that the external world is real and the reality is being constantly created and is always changing. Knowledge and truth is one and the same thing according to them. Whatever the approach towards education, one thing we all agree: Education is for the betterment of the individual and in the long run for the society. Education helps us prepare ourselves for the life ahead. Darwin gave the theory of the ‘survival of the fittest’; we can say in a way that education prepares the individual for the struggle of life for his own survival. Knowledge combined with proper guidance can spell success. A dose of proper guidance should be commenced right from the base itself, that is, in school days. Here comes the role of the teacher in moulding a child's mind. Educating a child, especially in the beginning years of schooling, is a very tricky job. That is probably because the child’s mind is like the unmoulded clay at that time. Therefore to get the best results and prepare well-informed and erudite adults, proper guidance is a must. For a proper system of education the teacher should encourage a student both in terms of mental encouragement and in lending a helping hand as and when needed. A student needs help for training his mind in such a way that it develops a tendency to gather knowledge from all possible sources. While on the other hand too much help if lent to him will make him dependant and used to spoon feeding. Self-study is the most sought after quality in a student. It helps them at the later stages. But because the ‘child is the father of man’ (Wordsworth) all the qualities have to be inculcated right in childhood. And teacher along with parents plays a very significant role. The aims of education should be kept in mind, although a thorough study of these aims may not be imperative. A teacher should make a child ready to face the society, inculcate moral habits in him and thus, assist him in his all round development. Education should not be considered synonymous with all that we learn. It does not signify the things we mug up before appearing for an examination. Education is what remains behind, when we fail to remember the mugged up portion. After we have left school, we realize that although we have forgotten quite a few things we learnt but still retain a very large part of it. The latter part is education. Education formally begins in school but actually it begins the day we are born and the process goes on for the whole of our life. This is where the aims of education come in. Education is not only the formal part we gain in schools, colleges or universities. It also includes the lessons life teaches us in various forms. For instance, when a child gets his finger pricked by a needle accidentally he learns that a needle is sharp and can hurt a person, so he will learn to avoid hurting himself in the future. This is only one example from thousands of other instances. We can even learn a lesson of a lifetime from a beggar. The birds inspire us to rise high. An ant motivates us for hard work. We learn some things just by doing them on our own, they are never taught in a school. A child’s first teacher is his mother, then his home and then come the formal agencies of education. Nature too is a great teacher. English poetry too gives us quite a few guidelines for leading a better life. It was not for nothing that Wordsworth went on to remark:
"One impulse from the vernal wood
May teach you more of a man
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can."
As long as there is life, we require education; we need ways to modify our views about life, to face it, to live it in a better way. And education teaches us all this. Even when you read a comic strip, it educates you in some way. They improve our language and make us realize that life isn’t so bad after all that it can’t get worse, as states Bill Watterson in ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. The witty humour of ‘Dennis the Menace’ enriches us no end. “The aim of education,” says Walter Grophices, "is not the specialist but the man of vision who can humanize our life by integrating emotional demands with our new knowledge."
In another way too, the insects and animals also teach you a lot. The easiest example is that of an ant. It inspires you to work hard. Therefore we can say there are innumerable modes of education, all that one needs is to have a discerning eye. Education enriches a person in terms of accepting a defeat. A student should first of all be taught so that he is encouraged to study. Side by side he should be readied to face a failure. As Charles F. Kettering rightly says,” The chief job of the education is to teach people how to fail intelligently." This will help the child coping with the other adversities of life. Education, thus, makes a person an improved version of himself and the world a much better place to live in.