At some point in my schooling, I was asked to describe my philosophy of education in a single sentence. This was very difficult; in fact I could not do it. I could explain that I believe that learning need not necessarily be a formal process but an extension of life and that those who recognize and value the learning opportunities presented by simply being alive are truly educated. I could explain that I also believe education should incorporate an appreciation of differences in attitudes and cultures. I could make clear that education must be an evolutionary process that never ends and must constantly require one to exam one’s own ideas and values and test their validity. I could clarify that to me, education is about the journey, not the destination, about perseverance and effort and learning from one’s failures and successes. But I couldn’t synthesize all of that into one coherent sentence. Then one night last spring, I was watching a basketball game on television and a commercial came on. A player makes a play on the ball and is knocked to the floor, as he rises the announcer intones ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.’ (Confucius).
I smiled, this summed up my philosophy of life and education and it was one sentence.