Liberal Education: Drawbacks and Benefits Essay by Lucy3

Liberal Education: Drawbacks and Benefits
The paper discusses what liberal education is, describes its benefits and its drawbacks and talks about whether it is appropriate for the twenty first century.
# 113239 | 1,761 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2008 | GB
Published on Mar 25, 2009 in Education (Teaching Methods) , Education (Theory)

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The paper defines liberal education as the development of intellectual abilities. It is concerned with the pursuit of knowledge and has three key values choice, freedom, and autonomy. The paper discusses several benefits of liberal education. For example, if one is able to prosper and make wise decisions, then it is beneficial. The paper also discusses the drawbacks of liberal education. For example, programmes are very expensive and thus prevent participation. Finally the paper discusses whether liberal education is suitable for the twenty first century. The writer sums up that liberal education has to be accompanied by other educational teachings.

From the Paper:

"The term liberal education has a variety of interpretations and in my own opinion it can be summarised as an education that emphasises the development of intellectual abilities as opposed to the acquisition of professional skills. Hirst (1974, p. 31) succinctly summarises this with 'the idea of liberal education as a process concerned simply and directly with the pursuit of knowledge.' The aim of such an education is to ensure that no particular way of life is favoured or predetermined and children are not trained for a pre-set role. Instead their education is centred on three key values; choice, freedom and autonomy. As far as I can understand the theory behind liberal education is that if the child is free and liberated they can make their own decisions and are thus deemed to be free from both ignorance and external authority. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hirst, Paul, (1974) Knowledge and the Curriculum. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Kant, Immanuel, (1784) 'An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?"', philosophy eserver [Online] Available at (Accessed: 23rd April 2008).
  • Nussbaum, Martha, (1990) Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education. USA: Harvard University Press.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, (2007) 'The Education of Nature' in Philosophy of Education: An Anthology, edited by Randall Curren. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Slee, Peter, (1986) Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of Modern History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester 1800-1914. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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