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Education must be much more and much less than it is today. Consider the apprentice, who spends time learning from the master, being with the master, watching, hearing, observing, seeing, smelling, feeling/touching the elements out of which the product is made, whether it be bread, a machine, or a window frame, learning the philosophy, the knowledge, the attitude and values, the understanding of the world of this craft, and experiencing the day-to-day life of the master craftsman/(today also craftswoman).

In our university educational system, such apprenticeship with a master comes only to the few, those who have stayed in college much longer than most: the Ph.D. candidate, who works with the master, the dissertation director, and with several other masters, those serving on his/her committee. But it is only the select few that receive such attention, such apprenticing. Consider our higher education system today: masses of students come into the large universities and often sit in classes of 100 to 300 or more; then as they major in a field those classes become smaller, but still can be large – although 30 students in a upper level course is not uncommon. Once in graduate school, the classes become even smaller. As for one-on-one “apprenticeship” between master and student, that can happen for a small number of students at the upper level of undergraduate education, the master’s level, and of course at the Ph.D. level. Only very few students have this opportunity, and of course usually the most intensive “apprenticeship” happens at the Ph.D. level. How many people ever get to experience that? I read a number of years ago that it was one in 400 women. As for men, I do not know.

The apprenticeship system has much to be said for it. While it usually involves a great deal of book learning (at least in some systems), nevertheless it goes far beyond that book learning, and as I intimated above, becomes a holistic education, reaching into the context of one’s profession or field of study: the ethics, laws, attitudes, beliefs, implications of behavior and action, and philosophy that undergird that profession or field of study.

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