IntroductionEducation is very important especially in the twenty first century.
This is because one needs vast knowledge in various areas of life. In many colleges and universities, students need to take up very many general education classes in order to graduate. Many students wonder why they have to go through all those subjects and yet what they want to do in future is not directly related to the subjects. (Blaich, 2004)The question is normally posed as to why should a student study art, music, philosophy, literature and history when they are outside the student’s major.
The argument includes why a student has to study computer programming when he or she will never write a program. This paper is dealing with the purpose of liberal arts in a college curriculum. It explains why they are required, why they are useful and also why they are not always useful.First of all, liberal arts were made to be studied this way by the early scholars.
These are people who carried out extensive research concerning liberal arts and education in general. Looking at liberal arts, they have their two sides. On one side they are useful and on the other side they are not always useful.Development of Ordered Intellect and MindLooking at their usefulness, liberal arts play a big role in teaching students how to think.
First of all, they help students to develop ordered intellect and strength of mind. It is argued that the mind is just like a muscle and therefore exercises help to make it more able to grasp ideas. They also help the mind to become stronger and able to handle scholarly work. It is noted that learning of professional courses is enhanced as one studies liberal arts.
This is because concentration, the entire ability of distinguishing important from trivial matters by an individual are enhanced. Research reveals that the ability to follow up arguments and that of grasping new concepts is enhanced by studying liberal arts. That is why they are important in a college curriculum. (Joseph, 2002)Liberal arts courses are useful in a college curriculum because they help students to develop ordered minds.
It is understood that thinking also has got its own grammar and the necessary set of rules for good use. These are enhanced when a student learns about liberal arts courses. It is noted that liberal arts courses help in creating rational analysis in students. Students are known to take with them the knowledge of organized solutions after studying.
Ability to think for oneselfLiberal arts courses give students a diverse body of knowledge. This enables students to develop their own opinions, beliefs, values and attitudes. This is normally based on worthy evaluation, examination and apprehension. Liberal arts courses are widely known to teach students how to think and come up with sound judgment.
Easy to understand the worldIt is known that when students have a thorough knowledge of procedures, philosophies and wide range of events, it becomes very easy for them to understand the whole phenomena of life. It is very bad to have an educated person marveling about a simple phenomenon of the world. It is very evident that liberal art courses help students to understand the world at large. This in most subjects is not covered in the professional subjects.
For instance a student studying accounting needs some basic knowledge in geography so that the student becomes knowledgeable all round.Gives context of all knowledgeLiberal arts courses are very essential because they help students to have general education that supplies a wide context of all knowledge. It is worth noting that every field gives the students only a partial view of knowledge in the specific subject. It has been noted by researchers before that overemphasis on only one field of study plays a big role in distorting the understanding of the reality in the world today.
Research reveals that all knowledge is actually one. They are related one to another. Many scholars assert that many liberal arts courses fit into the whole. This actually makes liberal arts courses very essential and desirable.
(Wriston, 1937)Life is never divided into majorsLiberal arts courses are essential in a college curriculum because they useful. Research shows that most endeavors, jobs and assignments require more than just the knowledge of one field. Many people suffer in their day to day lives because of not recognizing this fact. For example a psychologist needs vast knowledge to understand that the problems that the patients may be suffering from can either be spiritual, biological or they may have come about through interaction with the environment.
For example a doctor who has some knowledge in history will handle his job far much better than that who has read more books in the medical sector. So liberal arts courses are useful because they are normally applied in one or more areas of life even if not immediately. Life is actually a whole and not divided into parts. So no matter one’s profession, people normally encounter situations in the day to day life where knowledge in other fields is required.
(Winterer, 2002)Map of the universeLiberal arts courses in a college curriculum are essential because they give an all rounded education. This is known to produce a map of the entire universe and an intellectual view. This normally gives a systematic panorama of reality. This is in relation of one thing depends on the other.
Contributes to happinessResearch reveals that liberal arts courses contribute a great deal to one’s happiness and that is why it is very useful that they be included in a college curriculum. It is worth noting that liberal art courses play a big role in enhancing the appreciation personality, character, historical illusion, figurative language, wit, sculpture, literature or painting. When a person appreciates something then he or she is in a position of enjoying the same thing. When something is enjoyed, then it of course plays a big part in an individual’s happiness.
Scholars assert that knowledge makes an individual smarter and when one is smarter then they automatically become happier. Research reveals that people with all round knowledge in liberal arts courses inclusive of their professional ones have lower rates of depression, happier marriages, high degree of satisfaction in one’s entire life and less loneliness.Liberal arts teaches students how to learnKnowledge is known to build upon knowledge. When individuals learn something, the brain normally remembers how it was learnt and therefore sets up new pathways.
This enables future learning to become more faster. Scholars reveal that there is normally the transfer of good learning habits from one subject to another one. The entire exercise of the mind helps in the building of brainpower for further studying.General knowledge enhances creativityIt is very important that liberal arts be included in college curriculum because it provides a cross fertilization of very many ideas.
This results in better understanding of various concepts. Research reveals that general knowledge of the liberal arts subjects greatly enhances creativity. This is evident from previous students and this knowledge led to greater creativity and innovation of items like electric blankets, computers, washing machines and microwave ovens. (Reeves, 1930)Why liberal art courses are not always usefulLiberal art courses are not always useful because of various reasons.
One of the major reasons is that the things that are taught in some of the liberal arts courses are never applied in the students’ life. So it actually becomes just a waste of time. Another aspect is that time is wasted that it would have otherwise been used exhausting the subjects that are so fundamental in the student’s life. We are living in the world of professionalism and specialization.
It is far much better when a student specializes in one field than being wasted to learn so much of things that do not make sense. Not everyone can be skilled in all areas so specialization helps students to do their best in whatever fields. Many colleges require that students have to pass the liberal arts courses before graduating. This makes students to waste so much time of which they would use sharpening their skills in their areas of specialization.
This is always the case because if it is all about giving some general knowledge then the liberal courses don’t have to be taught so much in depth.ConclusionLiberal arts courses are included in college curriculums because of various reasons. As illustrated in the text they play a big role in developing ordered intellect and mind. They also help the mind to become stronger and able to handle scholarly work.
Liberal arts courses give students a diverse body of knowledge. This enables students to develop their own opinions, beliefs, values and attitudes. Most of the courses of liberal arts courses are general knowledge and they play a big role in enhancing the creativity of the students. Research reveals that liberal art courses enhance a person’s happiness.
Scholars assert that knowledge makes an individual smarter and when one is smarter then they automatically become happier. (Friedlander, 1982)Liberal art courses are not always useful as most of the courses taught are never applied in the students’ life. So this actually becomes time wasting. Not every person is skilled in all the fields and therefore when these liberal art courses are included in college curriculum, they are just not realistic.
The time wasted teaching students so many things would rather be used in teaching their areas of specialization. Reference:Blaich, C. (2004): Defining Liberal Arts Education; Center of Inquiry in the Liberal ArtsBlanshard, B. (1973): The Uses of a Liberal Education; And Other Talks to Students; ISBN 0-8126-9429-5Friedlander, J.
(1982): Measuring the Benefits of Liberal Arts Education in Washington’s Community Colleges; Los Angeles; Center for the Study of Community Colleges; ED 217 918Joseph, M. (2002): The Trivium; the Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric; Paul Dry Books IncPfnister, A. (1984): The Role of the Liberal Arts College; the Journal of Higher Education. Vol.
55, No. 2; 145-170Reeves, F. (1930): The Liberal-Arts College; the Journal of Higher Education; Vol. 1; No.
7; 373-380Seidel, G. (1968): Saving the Small College; the Journal of Higher Education; Vol. 39; No. 6; 339-342Winterer, C.
(2002): The Culture of Classicism; Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University PressWriston, M. (1937): The Nature of a Liberal College; Lawrence University Press
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