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Education - 01

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What was the influence of Augustine on education?
 
Several ideas became dear to Augustine and assume a special place with him.
 
(i)  He believes in sheer hard thinking in young people. Students should learn to value their own intellectual powers.
 
"It is easy to be ignorant," he says, "learning always requires effort."
 
School instruction alone is insufficient, for that merely gives knowledge from the outside of things.
 
Students need to be critical thinkers, and to question everything with a serious purpose.
 
They should in fact become their own teachers.
 
Augustine says, "Reach to truth yourself."
 
(ii)  Education is a quest for divine truth and a happiness that endures beyond space and time. Hence study must be directed to that inner understanding and confidence which come when faith is stirred.
 
He says, "Search for God in a way you will be certain to find Him; you will find peace."
 
(iii)  The search of the intellect for knowledge must be matched by learning how to love with the heart. Heart and mind work together.
 
(iv)  Love belongs in the relationship of teacher and pupil. Love is necessary to awaken love; it educates the heart. Love seals the work of the teacher.
 
(iv)  Education takes place in a community because, Augustine says, "You only know by loving." A person is only truly know through friendship.
 
Augustine teaches that we become free through mutual participation in one another's lives; we do not make ourselves free. "The person who will not have peace with others will not have it at all."
 
So he gathers into community not for uniformity or blind coordination but for knowledge through loving.
 
And he is aware that in community we achieve more than we could alone or in isolation.

(Continued on the next page.)
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