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Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research MCL6224: Issues in the Development of Liberal Studies

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  1. Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research • MCL6224: • Issues in the • Development of Liberal Studies

  2. Levels of Development in Liberal Studies as a NSS School Subject in HKSAR • Development of Liberal Studies as an educational idea • Development of Liberal Studies as a curriculum in NSS education in HKSAR • Development of Liberal Studies as a pedagogical approach in NSS education in HKSAR • Development of Liberal Studies as policy measure to be implemented in HK school organization • Development of Liberal Studies as a school subject within the curricular structure within HK school organization • Development of Liberal Studies as classroom-instruction practice in HK school organization

  3. MCL6224: • Issue in the Development of Liberal • Lecture 1 • Development of the • Idea of Liberal Education • into the 21st Century

  4. Understanding the Meanings of Liberal Studies in HKSAR • The myth of Liberal Studies in language game of HKSAR education reform (2004) • Liberal Studies as the panacea of education in knowledge society

  5. 「學生修讀這科後,會更了解香港社會、中國的發展和在現代世界的地位、全球化,以及促進在社會、國家和全球層面的公民意識。」「學生修讀這科後,會更了解香港社會、中國的發展和在現代世界的地位、全球化,以及促進在社會、國家和全球層面的公民意識。」 • 「知識型社會需要具有廣闊知識基礎,獨立思考和具創造力的新一代,只有高質素的公民,才能在瞬息萬變與高度競爭的國際環境下繼續發展。通識教育對香港的長遠發展具有深遠意義,這是教育界及政府那麼重視通識教育的原因。」 • 有論者誇耀「通識教育的爆炸力」,並指出「通識教育就是文明的基礎」,更強調「重建香港的優勢,為未來的中國鋪路,建立高中與大學的通識教育。未來的鄭和,豈不是始自今天﹗」

  6. Understanding the Meanings of Liberal Studies in HKSAR • The myth of Liberal Studies in language game of HKSAR education reform • Liberal Studies as the panacea of education in knowledge society • Liberal Studies as disaster in HKSAR education reform

  7. 「加諸全港每年數以十萬計的中學生上,恐怕通識變成『通通都唔識』的笑話,很快會在中學界流傳。」「加諸全港每年數以十萬計的中學生上,恐怕通識變成『通通都唔識』的笑話,很快會在中學界流傳。」 • 「通識教育所涵蓋的內容確實很闊,但由於時間所限,學習的深度很有限,會否變成貪多變少呢?會否掉入『通識不識』的陷阱中呢?」 • 有論者就指出「高姿態地提出這些能力(解決問題能力、深究能力、綜合學習能力)的培養,把它們脫離傳統學科,並且在課時上加以擴充(包括通識教育科之設),這變相擠壓傳統學科的學習,到頭來會否『賠了夫人又折兵』呢?」接著他更肯定地引用日本教改的例子來說明:「日本於2000年提出把學科削減30%,以讓路給『綜合學習』,結果給學術界批評為『蠢材教育』。」

  8. 有學者直指 「通識教育好白癡」;據報章引述,他的說法是:「有單元真係好白癡,好似『閒暇與生活』咁,邊使教 ,學生自己都識體驗啦,重話要考試 。」 • 有論者提出「批判已死」,通識教育只屬「對現建制及其規訓的重新一輪肯定,讓新一代不會『脫軌』吧。」 • 「以『通識教育』為典型範例的教改,很可能在貧富差距日增、貧窮兒童數目漸多的今天,進一步擴大而非拉近了這個趨勢。」

  9. 大虛妄 2009年02月19日(陶傑) • 通識教育,是一個自卑感的社會從西方抄襲過來的,可惜題目一開始就搞錯。通識育,英文叫 Liberal Education,英文詞典的定義是:「不論讀什麼學科,開拓與自律心智使之主導權慾的教育」( Education that enlarges and disciplines the mind and makes it master of its own powers, irrespective of the particular business or profession one may follow.)

  10. Understanding the Meanings of Liberal Studies in HKSAR • Confusion of connotations of liberal studies • Liberal Studies • Liberal education • General Education • Liberal Arts Education

  11. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age

  12. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • The origins of liberal education can be traced to the Ancient Greece in B.C. • Liberal art (artes liberalis in Greek) was understood as an education ideal underlining the idea of liberalis in Greek. It means “relating to freedom” or “fitted for freedom”. • Accordingly, liberal art education was understood as “education for free citizens” in the city-state of Ancient Greece. • However, in the political context of the Ancient Greece, which was built on a social system of slavery, liberal art education was in fact simply meant “education of free citizens with leisure to study” (Kimball, 1986, p.14)

  13. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • The origins of liberal education can be traced to the Ancient Greece in B.C. • Nevertheless, the idea of liberal arts education found in the writings of Plato and Aristotle carries a more profound meaning. It signifies the educational ideal that it is an education to free individuals rather than simply education for eligible free individuals. • Plato, following Socrates' teaching, saw "knowledge leads directly to virtue." He viewed liberal art education as "an endeavor that liberates the mind from chains of its shadowy cave of ignorance." (Kimball, 1986, p. 17) • While Plato's student Aristotle sees liberal arts education as a means to elevate human minds to self-reflective level. He underlines that “the unexamined life is not worth living for human being.” (Aristotle, quoted in Nussbaum, 1997, p. 8)

  14. The Trial of Socrates

  15. Plato’s School of Athens

  16. Plato and Aristotle

  17. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • The idea of trivium and quadrium in 5th and 6th century • During the Roman Empire in 5th to sixth century, liberal arts education indicated a curriculum consisted of seven arts. They can further be divided into “trivium” and “quadrivium” • Trivium was made up of grammar, logic and rhetoric. They constituted the lower division of university studies in the Middle Age • Quadrivium composed arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. They constituted the upper division of university studies in the Middle Age. • Nevertheless, liberal arts education in this period was still confined to be education for the eligible few, i.e. Roman citizens.

  18. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • After the fall of Roman Empire and the Barbarian invasion to Rome, the Roman’s idea of liberal art education of “trivium” and “quadrivium” came under the domination of Christianity or more specifically the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages from the sixth to sixteenth centuries. (Lawton and Gordon, 2002) University of Bologna was founded in the twelfth century. It was soon followed by such place as Paris, Oxford and Cambridge. However, these early universities "were developed as a response to the need for institutions to educate priests and monks." (Lawton and Gordon, 2002, p. 51-52)

  19. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • The humanist of the Renaissance and the scientist of the Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth century respectively broke the pursuit of knowledge away from the domination of the Christianity worldview. • The movement of Renaissance humanism can be represented by Pico della Mirandola famous text entitled Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486) in which he emphasized “the genius of man ... the unique and extraordinary ability of the human mind.”

  20. Liberal Education in the Pre-Modern Age • The humanist of the Renaissance and the scientist of the Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth century respectively broke the pursuit of knowledge away from the domination of the Christianity worldview. • The movement of Scientific Revolution can of course be signified by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton and their work. More specifically, it is Galilie’ conflict with the Catholic Church, which finally came down to the trial by the Inquisition in Rome in 1633, that signifies the liberation of scientific mind from the Christian doctrine, which subsequently brought about the movement of the Enlightenment and the advent of the Modern Age.

  21. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • The idea of the Enlightenment: • According to Immanuel Kant’s definition, "Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude (Dare to know)! 'Have courage to use your own reason!' - that is the motto of enlightenment." (Kant, 1959/1784, p. 85) Kant, I. (1959/1784) “ What is Enlightenment.” Pp. 85-92. In I. Kant. Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

  22. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • The idea of the Enlightenment: • At individual level, enlightened individual is a 'scholar' who possesses the mindset with "the propensity and vocation to free thinking" (Kant, 1996/1784, p. 92) and the ability "to make public use of one's reason at every point." (Kant, 1959/1784, p.87) • At societal level, enlightened social institutions should be structured in a way to guarantee "the freedom to make public use of one's reason" (p. 87) that is to "let every citizen …make his comments freely and publicly, i.e., through writing, on the erroneous aspects of the present institution." (p. 89) These institutions must submit themselves to be "subject to doubt before the public." (p.90)

  23. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • The idea of the Enlightenment: • In connection to ideal of the Enlightenment, liberal education in the 18th century took on an egalitarian meaning. It is the liberating and enlightening education for all human being and every human being is entitled to the "reasoning power."

  24. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • The idea of the project of modernity Jürgen Habermas' formulation of the project of modernity as collective efforts of human kinds, especially those in Europe in the 18th century bearing the consequences of : Habermas, Jurgen (1981) Modernity versus Postmodernity. New German Critique 22: 3-14.

  25. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • The idea of the project of modernity • Differentiating the holistic reason of religion and metaphysics of Christianity in Europe before the 18th century into autonomous spheres of science, morality and art in the Modern Times • Constituting of separate areas of inquiry: Knowledge and truth, justice and moral-rightness, and taste, authenticity and beauty • Developing of the cognitive-instrumental, moral-practical and aesthetic-expressive rationalities • Institutionalizing of domains of culture: scientific-inquiry discourse, theories of moral and jurisprudence, and production and criticism of art.

  26. Liberal Education in the Modern Age: The Enlightenment • Liberal education as part of the “project of modernity” It is in the context of modernity that liberal education invokes it modern meanings • To liberate human mind from religion and superstition and lead it into scientific reasoning and practice • To liberate human mind from social and political tutelage and suppression and lead it into democratic reasoning and practice • To liberate human mind from aesthetic domination and hegemony and lead it into free and creative expressions of self • However, the separation and division of human reason into separate domains and then institutions have sowed the seed of the degradation of the liberal education ideal in modern schooling system in the twenty century

  27. Liberal Education in Industrial Society • Max Weber's thesis of rationalization of education and training: • Industrialization and bureaucratization elicit complex division of labor in production process • Compartmentalization of skills and knowledge • System of knowledge was divided into separate disciplines • Constitution of regular curricula and standardized examination within each discipline

  28. Liberal Education in Industrial Society • With the establishment of the University of Berlin in 1809 and its reorientation of the mission of university from teaching of Christian doctrine or established knowledge to scientific research and pursuit of new knowledge, the mind-liberating tradition of liberal art education found its retrieval in university education first in German and then in the US.

  29. Liberal Education in Industrial Society • As U.S. universities, most notably Harvard, re-oriented their missions from the Oxbridge tradition of teaching of the Classics to the free pursuit of scientific knowledge, the single-standard curriculum for undergraduate study instituted in liberal art colleges in the U.S. was to be compartmentalized into specialties, streams and departments.

  30. Liberal Education in Industrial Society • Charles W. Eliot president of Harvard from 1869 to1909 introduce the idea of “free electives” to the undergraduate curriculum of the university. As a result, the range of courses offered was greatly expanded and schools and departments facilitating specializations were established in vast scale and speed. As for undergraduate students, they were permitted to choose freely from these vast varieties of systems of knowledge.

  31. Liberal Education in Industrial Society • As Abbott L. Lowell replaced Eliot to be the president of Harvard in 1909, the free-elective system was replaced by the academic-major system. As a result, major-concentration curriculum has become the dominant mode of study in undergraduate programs not only the U.S. but around the world.

  32. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • As World War II came to an end, confronted by devastating effects of the Nazism of Germany, Fascism of Italy, and militarism of Japan, educators especially university educators were forced to reflect on the appropriateness of the education and knowledge that they felt fit to inculcate into the young generations. One of such reflection was to look hard into the curriculum of major-concentrated, specialized, professionalized, vocationalized and to some extent instrumentalized mode of study in most of the undergraduate programs in universities.

  33. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • The Harvard Committee’s (HC) idea of General Education in a Free Society (1945) (HC Report) and its effort to reconcile the emerging conflict between disciplinary-knowledge and liberal education. • HC Report defines the general education as the modernized version of liberal education and the main difference between them is that general education attempts to universalize the liberal-education ideal to all citizens in a democratic society.

  34. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • “Clearly, general education has somewhat the meaning of liberal education, except that, by applying to high school as to college. …If one cling to the root meaning of liberal as that which befits or helps to make free men, then general and liberal education have identical goals.” (HC, 1945, p.52) However, in order to universalize the ideal of liberal education in modern democratic society, educators are confronted by the structural contradiction between general and special education.

  35. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • “The task of modern democracy is to preserve the ancient ideal of liberal education and to extend it as far as possible to all members of the community. …To believe in the equality of human beings is to believe that the good life, and the education which trains the citizen for the good life, are equally the privilege of all. And these are the touchstones of the liberated man: • First, is he free; that is to say, is able to judge and plan for himself, so that he can truly govern himself? In order to do this, his must be a mind capable of self-criticism; he must lead that self-examined life which according to Socrates is alone worthy of a free man. Thus he will possess in inner freedom, as well as social freedom.

  36. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • “… And these are the touchstones of the liberated man: • Second, is he universal in his motives and sympathies? For the civilized man is a citizen of the entire universe; he has overcome provincialism, he is objective, and is a ‘spectator of all time and all existence.’ Surely these two are the very aims of democracy itself.” (HC, 1945, p. 53)

  37. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • “We are living in an age of specialism. …Specialism is the means for advancement in our mobile social structure; yet we must envisage the fact that a society controlled wholly by specialists is not a wisely ordered society. We cannot, however, turn away from specialism. The problem is how to save general education and its values within a system where specialism is necessary.” (HC, 1945, p. 53)

  38. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • “Specialism enhances the centrifugal forces in society. The business of providing for the needs of society breeds a great diversity of special occupations, and a given specialist does not speak the language of the other specialists. In order to discharge his duties as a citizen adequately, a person must somehow be able to grasp the complexities of life as a whole. …. Our conclusion, then, is that the aim of education should be to prepare an individual to become an expert both in some particular vocation or art and in the general art of the free man and the citizen. Thus the two kinds of education once given separately to different social class must be given together to all alike.” (HC, 1945, p. 53-54)

  39. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • Accordingly, the HC identifies four characteristics which they think are essential traits for the “liberated mind” of citizens in democratic society (HC, 1945, Pp. 64-87) • Effective thinking: It consists of the ability of logical thinking, relational thinking and imaginative thinking • Effective communication: “The effective communication depends on the possession not only of skills such as clear thinking and cogent expression but of moral qualities as well, such as candor.” (HC, 1945, p. 68)

  40. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • …essential traits for the “liberated mind” of citizens in democratic society (HC, 1945, Pp. 64-87) • Making of relevant judgments: “The aptitude of making relevant judgment cannot be developed by theoretical teaching; being an art, it comes from example, practice, and habituation. The teacher can do a great deal nonetheless; he can relate theoretical content to thee student’s life at every feasible point, and he can deliberately stimulate in the classroom situations from life. Finally, he can bring concrete reports of actual cases for discussion with the students. The essential thing is that the teacher should be constantly aware of the ultimate objectives, never letting means obscure ends, and be persistent in directing the attention to the student from the symbols to the things they symbolize.” (HC, 1945, p. 71)

  41. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • General Education in a Free Society (1945) • …essential traits for the “liberated mind” of citizens in democratic society (HC, 1945, Pp. 64-87) • Discrimination among values: “The ability to discriminate in choosing covers not only awareness of different kinds of values but of their relations, including a sense of relative importance and of the mutual dependence of means and ends.” (HC, 1945, p. 71)

  42. The post-WWII Reform of General Education in U.S. Universities • Similarly, two other universities in the US had also produced substantive reports on reforms of their general education curriculum, namely the University of Chicago (1950) The Idea and Practice of General Education and Columbia University (1966) The Reforming of General Education.

  43. Debates and Reflection on “Western Civilization” in General Education in US higher education • The debate on the required course of Western civilization in Stanford University in the 1980s • The issue of the “Core Reading List” for the year-long required course Western Civilization