I had in mind to do a proper academic blog on an idea I have that liberal education has generally not flourished in the UK due to a widespread suspicion of ‘theory’ and a healthy devotion to empiricism and pragmatism.
However, the blog wasn’t happening, so I’ve sketched the idea in this vlog instead.
1. I reflect briefly on my own writing (or lack of it) in my current position.
2. I contrast some ideas of education from Europe (Humboldt) with our more British ideas of what education is for.
3. I briefly mention the idea of God as a unifying concept in education.
I should distinguish somewhat between a kind of ‘policy level’ view of what education can or should be and how that education is experienced ‘on the ground’ by those learning within the system. I mean that there is a difference between what a government or university allows or prescribes for its learners and what the learners experience in the system. In my own case on Arts and Sciences at UCL, those thinking about the course as a whole may subscribe to a notion that interdisciplinarity and a level of generality as ideas for education should be something we provide. We may then work towards developing a degree programme which allows this. It is at this sort of ‘level’ at which a discussion about ‘holism’ in education comes into play. There is no reason why every one of our students should emerge as a generalist. Any particular student may simply experience a specific interdisciplinary combination of study which they put together, according to their interests, to make up their own degree.
And, of course, in the vid I mean Alasdair MacIntyre, not Donald!
Photo under CC license from Foilman’s Photostream