education models: (1) self-directed, personal growth model, (2) the
traditional education model, (3) the medical model, and (4) the super-
guru model. Traditional educators assume that the students know little
about the subject and the teacher knows a lot. So, the teacher, having
a full pitcher of knowledge, pours each student's empty glass full.
Teachers oriented towards personal growth recognize that students
have knowledge to share with the teacher and other students, i.e. they
have pitchers of knowledge too. Each student in the self-directed
personal growth model seeks out new knowledge and awareness for
their own reasons, then they share that information so it can be used
in life by others.
The medical model, like the traditional teacher, assumes that the
expert--the doctor--has all the knowledge and makes all the decisions.
The doctor diagnoses the problem, decides how to treat it, does the
treatment, and tells you when you are well. The personal growth
facilitator does not try to "cure" a "patient," instead he/she helps the
other person acquire new needed skills or new outlooks for coping
better. Medical model treatment starts with sickness and ends with a
cure; growth may start with sickness or wellness and fosters
improvement which never ends.
The super-guru model assumes that a guru--a therapist, teacher,
writer, preacher, etc.--has the answer, a blueprint for living. In
contrast, the growth model assumes that the good life is more
complicated than a simple prescription. In self-direction, optimal,
creative growth involves the creation of your own values, dreams, and
skills, and the avoiding of internal barriers to progress (Elliott, 1973).
As you can see, gathering information--and the way you go about
doing that--is closely related to decision-making. In some situations,
you may need a teacher who will simply pour out the facts you need.
At times, where the decisions are very technical and you have no
training, you must surrender your decision-making to an expert. Most
of the time, though, you are better off gathering the needed
information, listening to the opinions of others, and doing your own
evaluation of the pros and cons for different alternatives. Granted, this
is work, not the "easy way."
The major decisions of our lifetime
As we're growing up, we make few major decisions. (Some made
impulsively are mighty important, though, such as teenage
pregnancy.) But, rather suddenly as a young adult, say 18 to 25, we
are often confronted with several major decisions. We may have no
one to advise us or we may get conflicting advice. If you ask young
people, "What are the most important decisions you will ever have to
make?" you get these answers: (1) whom to marry, (2) what career to
choose, (3) when to have children and how many, and, occasionally
someone mentions, (4) what values and morals to live by. Notice that
all these decisions tend to be made relatively early in life, although
marriage and children are being delayed more and more.