ERIC Number: ED172668
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Oct-30
Reference Count: 0
The Liberal Education: Freeing Us From the Tyranny of Forever Learning by Trial and Error.
Sawhill, John C.
The importance of the liberal arts for society as well as for the education of the individual is discussed in this speech. The liberal arts are integral to achieving proficiency in all disciplines; they provide the context of values in which further, specialized development takes place. Liberal education also affords a means of recognizing and utilizing the patterns of continuity that run through history, which free us from the tyranny of forever learning by trial and error. Liberal education is the vehicle by which the young acquire wisdom and skills of a civilization. Fewer students are electing to pursue courses of study in the liberal arts, and fewer required courses in these studies are being offered. The abandonment of the liberal arts raises disturbing questions not only about the role of the university but also about the foundations of society itself. In order to understand the meaning and impact of recent events affecting the decline in stature of the liberal arts, the recent past is examined. Federal aid to universities for socially-oriented programs of study, the trend toward specialization, and student demands for courses they perceive as relevant to their interests have had an impact on the liberal arts in higher education and also in the elementary and secondary schools. Reasons why liberal arts study are crucial in the face of societal developments are addressed. (SW)
Descriptors: College Role, Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Educational Trends, Federal Aid, Government School Relationship, Higher Education, Liberal Arts, Majors (Students), Relevance (Education), Social Problems, Specialization, Speeches, Student Attitudes, Student Centered Curriculum, Values
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Forum of the College Board (New York, New York, October 29-31, 1978); Not available in paper copy due to light type of original document