[MCAT] Education: skill vs. value

The object of education should be to teach skills, not values.

Describe a specific situation in which the object of education might be teaching values rather than skills. Discuss what you think determines when the object of education is to teach skills and when it is to teach values.

* * * *

Education, if narrowly defined as the systematic training and teaching of students, can be seen as the tool to equip the younger generation of work force with the skill and knowledge necessary to carry on the vital functions of our society. As such, the education system has to be professional and impersonal to be efficient. Moral education or the teaching of values do not have a place in the education system designed to transfer practical knowledge and skills, because they are inherently biased. For this reason, the nurses teaching sexual education focus on safe practices, STI prevention, and other professional advise, and they avoid making moral judgments about contraception and abortion for their students. This is because the discussion of values in these programs may be offensive to some audience, or at least they are disrespectful of the audience’s right of personal choice.

But values must be learned. If education is more broadly defined as the sharing of experiences and ideas between people, then the discussion of values certainly has an important place in the development of the younger generation. If the children do not learn about the morality behind different sexual practices from the public nurses, they should learn about it from their parents, because they not only need the skills to protect themselves, they also need to know what they must protect themselves from. Knowing how to put on a condom is not enough; somewhere in the broadly defined “education” we must also teach children how to choose between “Yes” and “No”.

It has been repeatedly pointed out that our doctors are well-trained medicine practitioners, but some of them lack the appreciation of the value of patient care. Their medical education has been too narrowly focused on the teaching of skills, and too little emphasis was paid to the discussion of values. Note that I use “discussion” instead of “teaching”, because I believe that values cannot be taught. It is through experience, conversation, and discussion that values can be incorporated into education.

Education, then, can be thought to have two different flavors. One is the formal, systematic teaching of skills and knowledge, which is essential for training our students into skillful practitioners of knowledge. The other is the informal, individualized nourishment of morality and values, which is indispensable for building a healthy, compassionate, and moral generation.


4 thoughts on “[MCAT] Education: skill vs. value

  1. no wonder u got in..my writing is crap comparing to that, did u actually finish it in 30 min -_-

  2. Some of my practices were timed and finished around 30 mins, some others I wrote until I was happy… I forgot how long I spent on this essay. It seems like an essay that I spent more than 30 mins on though.

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