Here's the definition we came up with in our house. We've worked on this for a while with some educators (all high-school or lower grades; no college educators.)
"Education is the process anyone uses to improve skills, knowledge or attitudes in themselves with the help of others."
"Others" includes teachers as well as authors of published works such as books, articles, films, audio programs or other means of communication.
This implies a few things often left out of conversations about education:
- there is more to be learned than simple facts (knowledge). Skills, for example, are gained by training. That is, trying one's skill, evaluating it and trying again.
- only the student can change things on the inside of the student. Obtaining an education really comes down to the student doing the work of improving himself or herself.
- schools provide an OPPORTUNITY for someone to build skills, knowledge and attitudes within themselves on certain subject matters; nothing more. Opportunity for proving mastery is given in the form of tests. Opportunity for help is offered for students having trouble mastering some parts of a subject. In short, a school provide an opportunity for students to educate themselves.