Is education a service?

Now, being of service in education may not sound right to you at first. Surely, we are here to educate, to fill the students with vast knowledge and information to get them ready for their future. We equip them to cope with a tough life ahead by teaching them useful and essential skills and knowledge so they can contribute to society.

According to the Oxford Dictionary there are 2 meanings to the word ‘Education’:

  1. The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
  2. An enlightening experience.

Definition 1 necessitates mainly the use of our head, but in order for the second to come into effect we need to use our heart also. I once read a quote “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. When we become SEJ practitioners, especially in an educational setting, having a heart centred approach becomes the norm. Indeed, it is THE ONLY way to be an educator.

What is being an educator? It is being of service to pupils/students so they can experience their own enlightening moments, not just filling them with cold facts, but BEING with them and giving them our full attention. The rest will take care of itself – it always does. How do I know this? Because I have seen it with my own eyes. How did I do that? By being a practitioner of the SEJ Process and realising that all I can ever give is to be of service to students. By giving them your full attention and listening to them, they will tell you exactly what they need from you. But to do that you have got to have an open heart and an open mind.

Once I was struggling to explain a concept to a group of students, I applied the SEJ Process and realised that I was focused too much about me and what I was teaching, not what they were learning. All I needed to do was focus on them and their needs i.e., to be of service. The lesson then progressed smoothly, we all had empowering shared experience in joy and finished the class much earlier than expected!

Too far-fetched? Why not try it yourself and experience it! After all education is and can be an enlightening experience for all concerned. Finally, I would like to leave you with one of Mary’s quotes for your contemplation…

“Our job is to educate and nurture, not to tell our young people and children what they should or should not do. We should aim to bring them to a state of awareness where their choices are clear”.

Jacqueline Mary Philips

Dr M Howard-Kishi

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