The Reward of a Liberal Education Essay

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Newman defines liberal knowledge, or enlargement, as a cultivation or stimulation of the mind, with both mechanical (practical) and philosophical content, that builds an "intellect to reason well in all matters," develops character, brings about change, and lasts throughout life. (1.6.126-134, 2.1.50-52) Liberal knowledge is important because it brings a respect and balance to various disciplines of study, and aids in the pursuit of specific subject matters. This knowledge allows the learner to see their individual area of study in relationship to a whole. Liberal education does not compete with these disciplines but rather compliments them. (1.1.70-71) Ideally liberal education supports and open mindedness that promotes understanding and …show more content…
Thus as the educational or knowledge base is layered, greater opportunity exists to achieve greater meaning from all learning endeavors. Knowledge becomes important not for a practical foundation but provides a perspective on how we view and experience life. I refer back to Newman's example of the tree of knowledge in which there is growth of fresh shoots, buds, and blossoms that ripen. Not all shoots will be the same length, the buds will not appear at the same time, and the blossoms will not all be the same color. The tree, as a whole, takes in the sunlight, water and nutrients from the soil but processes it with slight variation within its parts. (1.8.560-564) Just as this class brings together a group that has the same instructor and same reading material, we require different teaching methods and have a unique interpretation of the readings. As I consider Newman's view of liberal education, it allows me to see how my professional pursuits are just a part of my whole being. In the movie Educating Rita (Gilbert, 1983), the main

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