Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Searching for the meaning of Education

Habitual learning is what you get when you learn something repeatedly until it becomes a habit. For example, my sister is a dentist and told me I had to floss my teeth. I didn’t know how to do it properly, and the first times took quite a while. With time and practice, I made progress.

What if we made learning a habit? Practice learning every day means educating ourselves with new things. New words, expressions, ideas, techniques. However, it implies recovering the real sense of education.

If you go to a dictionary, by education I found ” the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction,” or a reference to the ” body of knowledge acquired.” But this is not the real sense of education. I fear we might be misled to think about education as the same as instruction when it means a lot more.

Going to the etymology of the word, from the Latin ”educare,” education means to bring up, to train, but there is also a version of its understanding pointing to something leading forth, or bring out. Something which changes from within where the mind resides. It is the understanding of education as what unfolds the power of the mind.

“True education is a kind of never ending story — a matter of continual beginnings, of habitual fresh starts, of persistent newness.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Education, in its most profound sense is the lifelong result of making learning a habit.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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