Here's How To Teach The Liberal Arts To High Schoolers Share to facebook Share to linkedin In a recent post, I argued that one of the things America badly needs is a better class of liberal arts education. Democratic self-governance requires an enlightened citizenry and, in particular, one that is somewhat acquainted with the thought and the culture that gave us the civilization we live in.
This is why I argued that all high schoolers should be required to wrestle with at least some, hopefully most, of the Great Texts of the Western tradition (including some contemporary examples). The basic idea is that of the Oxford tutorial system. In the tutorial system invented at the University of Oxford, pupils sit with a tutor in groups of one to three, present a paper, and discuss it.
The small group setting makes it a lot easier to teach, and makes for a better experience. Here's how it works: every week you have tutorial.
That means you have to read a book for that week (or part of a book), and write a small essay about it, maybe answering a question about the book or not. You get to tutorial, you read your essay, and then the teacher and you and the other pupils talk about it.
The first and most important one is that the great books tutorial can never be graded or otherwise used to evaluate the student, especially not for college. This is not about jumping through a hoop to get something else.
This is about something that is inherently valuable 1 Jul 2014 - Last year she wrote an essay discussing the value of the liberal arts that tools that I gained from all of the difficult homework assignments will .
It becomes about reading Cliff's Notes, and paraphrasing Wikipedia.
Again, the goal is to get enlightened citizens, not "college material" or whatever. The only way to get that is to get them to actually encounter and work through the ideas in question.
The in-person tutorial setting should be important. Ideally two or three students per tutorial, so there can be student-student interaction as well as student-teacher interaction.
The importance of the small setting is that it makes it impossible to [email protected]#&$ your way through the class the way it's possible to do with 99% of the assigned reading for 99% of classes in high school and college (trust me).
Why do the reading, if you're not graded? Trust me, these are teenagers we're talking about 28 Aug 2014 - I was invited to talk alongside more senior liberal arts faculty about life at a liberal arts science department and how to get hired at an institution like mine. Apparently, some Do your homework. Study the departmental .
Avoiding the embarrassment of looking like a complete dunce will work wonders grades cannot.
A practical education: why liberal arts majors make great employees
Remember, the point of the tutorial is not to evaluate students, so the essay is not a performance; and it means shorter is better. Why read it outloud? My understanding from reading about the Oxford tutorial is that having to read your essay out loud in front of people is a much better spur to brevity (which is the hardest thing to learn in writing) than any writing tips from any teachers. Plus any training in public speaking, in however small the setting, and in voicing words and therefore having a better relationship with them, is valuable, particularly, again, for teenagers.
In this way, obliquely and therefore effectively, the tutorial becomes a writing workshop as well. Writing clearly is just about the most valuable professional skill out there, and almost nowhere is it taught.
High school and college classes typically do not reward either brevity or clarity in essays beyond the bare minimum. Insofar as possible, complete books should be read. I realize that asking all high school students to cover all of the Great Books of Western civilization is a tall order.
And some books are probably just too dense (Aquinas, Kant, hello!).
Here's how to teach the liberal arts to high schoolers - forbes
But insofar as possible, the whole books should be read When liberal arts students (and worse, aca again, from my personal experience —seem easier to get full credit for than homework from my STEM classes..
First of all, because many thinkers simply cannot be tl;dr'd.
Second of all, because wrestling with, and immersing yourself in, and just reading through whole books is part of the education. It's not just about the ideas, it's about the act of reading books itself.
Just to read the book and think about it and write about it and talk about it.
Two or three pupils per class? Are you crazy? That's impossible! We're talking about one two-hour tutorial per week.
At two students per tutorial, and if the teacher spends twenty hours a week in tutorial, that's a ratio of 20 students per teacher. The so-called Great Books are just by Dead White Men! Well, like it or not, our civilization was mostly built by Dead White Men. That being said, it's also true that it wasn't just built by Dead White Men, and that their perspective is not the only legitimate one, far from it. The books, especially those pertaining to American culture and history, shouldn't just be theInvisible Man and The Second Sex.
And All this reading? Are you kidding?That's impossible for most teenagers! You're out of your mind 17 Jun 2014 - Here's How To Teach The Liberal Arts To High Schoolers Another problem is that teenagers get tons of homework, and that this homework is .
Why are liberal arts majors and colleges looked down upon? - quora
By the time most kids get to high school, either they've never been taught to enjoy books or interest in them has been beaten out. Part of me thinks the first books on the curriculum should be, like, Harry Potter or enjoyable and thrilling.
I also really think that much of the reluctance on the part of students to read assigned books is precisely that they are assigned, i. A pleasant reading experience is one that is done for its own sake.
Another problem is that teenagers get tons of homework, and that this homework is almost certainly a waste of time. Ideally, you would get rid of homework, and you would "fold" other classes, such as English and Social Studies and Government and whatever else into this class, and that would free up a lot of time to just read.
In the meantime, maybe we can just make it one tutorial every two weeks instead of one every week.
A student's perspective on the liberal arts | huffpost
But week after week after week after week, you get better.
Less and less of a slog, more and more of a pleasure. That, too, is part of what this is supposed to teach.
I'm a writer and a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center Buy A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees 1 by Stross did his homework by finding and profiling several Stanford liberal arts .
I most recently worked as an analyst, and before that at Business Insider, where I co-created BI Intelligence, the company's market research service.
How the liberal arts lead to success - the atlantic