The term ‘education’ lives not only amongst academia. It is far broader. At school, we follow a curriculum learning facts and dates and all that seems essential within a subject however, it doesn’t fully encompass everything that has happened in our world, or knowledge that extends outside the boundaries of the school’s syllabus.
So how else can we extend our knowledge? By self-education. Self-education is about autonomy and curiosity. It’s about being present and finding interest in our surroundings and influences. Some of us are luckier than others because we get it in the home.
If you have well-educated parents that talk about current affairs at the dinner table and discuss a multitude of subjects, you will absorb the information organically. We tend to know things that our parents talk about. For example, if your parents are into rugby, by default you will most likely learn about the game.
Books are yet another way to educate yourself. From complicated textbooks to historical fiction, there is a wide range of pages to turn that can enlighten. Stories well written have a clever way of educating without us realising it. So, for defiant teens that don’t like to think they are reading a book for the purpose of learning, a great story will do the trick.
Most teens are lazy. Quite often I want to lie around the house, browse my Facebook feed, hang out or chat with friends, or watch a movie (we learn through this avenue as well). On days like these, anything educational, or reading something more challenging is, to me, repugnant.
Nevertheless, we are always learning. Endless information seems to slither its way back. For instance, there are constant articles that appear on my Facebook feed. Whether frivolous or serious I am always tempted to read them.
The news is so easy to access online and it’s a nice alternative for those who prefer instant gratification.
Friends are another way for further educating. Amongst ourselves, we talk about the subjects that interest us. We learn by chatting to each other, which is fun, chilled and usually not boring! I enjoy a heated discussion. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned debate; they are healthy for the soul. It allows us to hear other opinions and may even make us question our own.
Extending our knowledge is essential to growing and developing. It is easy to tune out (and sometimes you need to) but it is wise to have an open mind and to keep learning new things.
Poppy Nguyen Eastwood is a Grade 10 student at Lycée Français International Marguerite Duras.