Category Archives: Liberal arts

February 18, 2008, 2:19 pm

A trifecta on classical education

Gene Veith, one of my favorite religious writers and the proprietor of the terrific Cranach blog (and provost at Patrick Henry College), has three quick posts today on classical education. He touches briefly on teaching content rather than process, and how classical education teaches bothl; on critical thinking; and on learning styles and the teaching of “meaning”. Some clips: 

The key factor in learning is grasping meaning, a concept that evades any of these sensory approaches. (While cultivation of meaning is what classical education is all about.)

and:

More substantive scholars say that being able to think critically requires (again, see below) CONTENT. You have to think ABOUT SOMETHING. Whereas much of the critical thinking curriculum is all process, trying to provoke content-free thinking. (The classical solution: DIALECTIC, featuring questions AND answers, as in that great…

Read More

October 19, 2007, 5:27 am

The liberal arts in Africa

Inside Higher Ed has this fascinating (and too brief) interview with Patrick Awuah, president of Ashesi University in Ghana. While Ghana has several large universities, Ashesi is the first (and only) liberal arts college in this African nation. Awuah was asked about the Ashesi’s liberal arts focus:

I think that the liberal arts focus is probably the most important thing that we’re doing at Ashesi and it’s driven in part by my experiences at Swarthmore, but also comparing that with the experiences of my colleagues who were educated in Ghana for college. In Ghana the educational system is very heavily dependent on rote learning, just memorizing facts and repeating them to faculty. It does not prepare people to be problem-solvers. So what we’re doing at Ashesi is trying to set this example that we hope others will follow, where the process of education should be about asking the right…

Read More