There is no single definition of being well-educated or should I say intelligence. Kohn’s ideas are no different from the so many theories on intelligence that were formulated by different theorists from different periods.
According to Kohn, there are varied meanings society and civilization put on education and learning. Depending on which notion was adopted, people have come up with varied ways of assessing learning too; hence, the development of different assessment tools.
I credit the present education system for not sweeping such issues under the rug. In answer to questions similar to that of Kohn’s, they have come up with alternative systems and tools that may provide solutions to this problem. There is the Alternative Learning System or ALS which provides both educational and livelihood opportunities for out-of-school individuals. ALS students are assessed, not on their “paper credentials,” but on their actual aptitude level and competencies. This is one tool that helped Rep. Manny Pacquiao (and others like him) to continue their schooling despite not having the time to attend a regular school. Other programs like Distance Education, vocational – technical schools and Information and Communication Technology or ICT are continuously being developed to address these issues.
Furthermore, it is evident that countries worldwide subscribe to Kohn’s ideas. Most countries are now changing their perspectives on education. So as to meet the rising challenges on how education and learning should be defined and assessed, different universities around the globe have made appropriate changes in their curriculum. HarvardUniversity for example has included in their curriculum “foreign schooling” after realizing that living in another country with a different culture enhances learning. China in the past six years has learned to integrate MBA in their universities, a program which they did not have before they sent their scholars to study abroad.
The world now recognizes the different intelligences among individuals. The less conservative schools at the present have started using alternative assessment tools like the use of portfolios, journals (like what we use in EDS) and other tools that measure intelligence other than solely at the cognitive level.
I subscribe to Kohn’s idea that education and learning can and should be defined in several different ways; hence, the best formula or method of assessing students’ learning is yet to be discovered or formulated. But I have not lost confidence in our prevailing school system.
Kohn, Alfie, “What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?” retrieved September 18, 2013 from http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/welleducated
Photo retrieved September 19, 2013 from http://www.facebook.com/cat-addict-anonymouse