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Thread: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

  1. #11
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I don't believe there is enough emphasis on liberal arts. Liberal arts is more than just memorizing a series of data and regurgitating it later. Knowledge retention is and has been looked at extensively, and in my field it's of particular importance since in physics many students who take it will end up retaining nothing. However, there is a more important aspect associated with liberal arts and that comes through the use of critical thinking. And it's here that one can say one of the true powers of liberal arts education lies. Even if we forget what we've memorized, we are able to keep the critical thinking. Liberal arts should teach people to question and think about answers more so than learning which way to turn a wrench to loosen a bolt (I use the right hand rule). The ability to critically think is something which I feel is really leaving the American populace. Too much people want to opposite of liberal arts education, they want to know how what they're learning is going to fit into the cog necessary to do their job; and that's not so much liberal arts as it is more accurately labeled as vocational. That focus I fear has driven away intellectual and academic pursuit and has caused us to lose a lot.

    In the end you don't just want a cog. A cog can be replaced with an appropriate robot. You want thinkers, you want people who can analyze and question circumstances, who can weigh out the data in front of them and come up with intelligent solutions. It's imperative not just for the success of the individual to be able to think, but for the Republic as a whole. And on this front, we should be doing more.
    Yes.

    And the point is training the mind to reason critically and solve problems, not to learn a trade.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Nope, it doesn't emphasize them enough.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene
    Would you know who Sisyphus is without the "liberal arts"?
    You must have one of those cool schools of the future if you're getting to take classes in Greek mythology. After all, school is the only place you can learn that kind of thing!

    Need I go on, or have I made my point without poking too much fun?

  4. #14
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Yes.

    And the point is training the mind to reason critically and solve problems, not to learn a trade.
    Indeed, that's what trade schools are for. I think that's an important distinction to be made. People will be prepared with the base to enter into any higher ed environment they choose; but there should be emphasized differences between Tech school, College, and University. University being the most academically rigorous, challenging, and diverse of the group.

    I don't think it's necessarily bad to try to improve the rigor and scope of our high schools, they've been in pretty big decline. There can be plenty of opportunity for various study above the required and emphasized curriculum. Specific histories (European, Medieval, Asian, etc.) can be electives (but American history and Government would be required), various government studies, sociology, psychology, mythology/theology, etc.
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    You must have one of those cool schools of the future if you're getting to take classes in Greek mythology. After all, school is the only place you can learn that kind of thing!

    Need I go on, or have I made my point without poking too much fun?
    School is the most probable place for those things to be learned.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Would you know who Sisyphus is without the "liberal arts"?
    That knowledge is mostly from personal interest and independent study.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't retain some ideas from the liberal arts in our education, but equally emphasize singular studies in a wide range of disciplines, and expecting productive citizens to arise from it, is a bad strategy.

    History, economics, geography, civics, politics, for example, shouldn't be taught separately, but as interdisciplinary programs developed around the theme of good republican citizenship. You should focus on specific time periods in human history and develop an understanding of all these disciplines from those time periods.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 09-22-11 at 06:49 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    That knowledge is mostly from personal interest and independent study.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't retain some ideas from the liberal arts in our education, but the fundamental notion that we should

    History, economics, geography, civics, politics, for example, shouldn't be taught separately, but as interdisciplinary programs developed around the theme of good republican citizenship. You should focus on specific time periods in human history and develop an understanding of all these disciplines from those time periods.
    To degrees. It was never required, but I did take a Greek Mythology class in high school, it was a fun and interesting course. I just don't think that the idea of school should be to produce cogs. Cogs are non-thinkers. Human society needs thinkers, particularly to uphold a democratic Republic. Being a "good Republican citizen", what's that even mean? I'm not sure I want government schools enforcing ideals like that. I'd rather teach people to think and let them figure out for themselves what a "good citizen" is.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

  8. #18
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    To degrees. It was never required, but I did take a Greek Mythology class in high school, it was a fun and interesting course. I just don't think that the idea of school should be to produce cogs. Cogs are non-thinkers. Human society needs thinkers, particularly to uphold a democratic Republic. Being a "good Republican citizen", what's that even mean? I'm not sure I want government schools enforcing ideals like that. I'd rather teach people to think and let them figure out for themselves what a "good citizen" is.
    Good republican citizens are supposed to be able to think, but empowering people to think requires discipline and focus that doesn't come naturally and which our current method of education does not distill.
    If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Is the purpose of education to provide a citizenry best able to make political choices for itself, or to produce a citizenry capable of succeeding in the workplace?

    because an argument can be made for both, and currently we are not providing for either - at current schools do not overemphasize liberal arts so much as they overemphasize self-esteem.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Good republican citizens are supposed to be able to think, but empowering people to think requires discipline and focus that doesn't come naturally and which our current method of education does not distill.
    This is true, but I don't believe it's due to too much liberal arts. I think it's the exact opposite. I think the rigor of school is toned down after elementary school and continues to decline until about 2nd year in college. Instead, we should not allow that decline but rather keep it rigorous throughout. We should emphasis MORE liberal arts, not less. As time marches on and human society expands its knowledge and technology, there will be more and more to learn. It's how it works with us. We aggregate our knowledge base to push forward current technology. "If I have seen farther than any man, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants" the saying goes. We continually must climb higher and higher as our aggregated knowledge increases. Is it necessary for everyone to know the intricacies of quantum mechanics? Not from a cog perspective, most certainly not. But from a human perspective it is good to have some knowledge of quantum even if it's remedial.

    To learn is to be human.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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