Following the readings of Fareed Zakaria’s “In Defense of a Liberal Education,”Joseph J.
Dunn’s “Reviving Liberal Education,” and Daniel Gordon’s “The Confidence Factor in Liberal Education,” I understand the true value of having a large variety of knowledge of liberal education. Liberal education allows students to think in all kinds of different situations and exposes students to a wide range of subjects and unfamiliar areas that help students think more outside the box. According to Zakaria’s book, liberal arts courses were once admired by higher education students but are now in a decline of enrollment due to direct job classes that seem more appealing to the students. Liberal education holds value in today’s society because it gives value and hope to higher education students to search for the best option in any situations thrown their way, it also brings knowledge about other systems of life, therefore it will allow students to contribute in a way that other students cannot contribute their ideas and knowledge to society. A large reason on why a liberal education every day at such a high regard in this current society that we live in is the possibility to keep up to date with all the new technology that is being rolled out on a weekly basis. Technology is being updated and developed every day and is becoming available to a much greater amount of individuals.
The tech industry changed the way major businesses operate across the world by changing how technology promote their products and services. Nowadays, everything can be done on the internet. Because of resourceful people, telecommunication, online banking, online classes, starring in your own reality show, and ordering groceries to be delivered to your front door are made possible. These are a few of the things that can be done on the World Wide Web. Liberal arts train students to prosper in intellectual flexibility, complexity, and change which are necessary skills in the tech world as continued innovation and critical attention drives modern technology. Taking a course in computer science helps in this industry because knowing how to develop the latest software is vital to both small and large businesses to stay competitive in the tech world.Secondly, liberal education is significant because it gives people the competence to think openly, wisely, and innovatively. For instance, Gordon stated in his article that students majoring in long-established liberal-arts fields resulted in higher levels of critical thinking, better writing skills, and have a better understanding of complicated topics.
For example, by taking an English-Writing course as one of your liberal arts courses, the class helps students organize their thoughts and ideas by writing papers. The process of writing papers encourages creative thinking and it expands students’ vocabulary with the practice of revising essays. Therefore, students have developed writing skills from taking a liberal arts class. Not only does it prepare a student in a specific area of study, it also prepares an individual for life by gaining the knowledge that is needed to help a person excel that will enable individuals to accomplish what they want in life. “Liberal education is even more pertinent today than in the past because it encourages “intellectual flexibility,” “adaptability,” “continuous innovation,” and “multicultural knowledge” (Gordon, 45). In addition, liberal education assists students to improve the ability to relate information and talents in the real-world, as well as the capability to reason clearly, carefully, and creatively – making innovators.
Another benefit of a liberal education is that it helps students develop a sense of social responsibility by gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves by taking a psychology course. Psychology gives students the knowledge of human behaviour. It gives people an insight into the human mind and its purposes. People develop practical skills and have a better understanding of other individuals through empathy and compassion. Compassion is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. Knowledge in compassion can enhance an individual’s life because they know how to care about others, they have concern for those who are in a predicament, and they want to help those that are less privileged.
Compassion is important in society and it is a characteristic that cannot be underestimated. Also, liberal education trains a person to understand the human condition and how human beings around you interact, making you more effective at your professional life and in all circumstances no matter what field you are in. “Human beings have organized themselves in more productive ways, economically, politically, and socially” (Zakaria, 143). Educated people are better team players and it helps with performing their trade that is essential for completing projects properly.
“A liberal education gives us a greater capacity to be good workers, but it will also give us the capacity to be good partners, friends, parents, and citizens” (Zakaria, 151). Plus, when compassion exists, people create a better place to live in. Moreover, liberal education nurtures people to make good choices in a wide variety of circumstances by teaching students discipline and time management. To pass a course, students must complete necessary assignments, attend classes everyday, and by paying attention in class. The same fundamentals are required to be a good employee in any reputable companies.
Math is a liberal arts class that is helpful in everyday life. I worked in a bank for over five years and I must be able to calculate numbers in my head to be an effective bank employee. Math had helped me in countless ways. Percent Applications and Fractions happens to be my favorite math topics because when I go shopping and there’s a sale, I’m able to figure out what the discount price is without asking for anyone’s help. Math is also helpful when it comes to buying a car because it gives a person an understanding when financing a car. Civil engineers use basic arithmetic to express water movement through an open basin. Since engineers work on explanations to a physical challenge, geometry is beneficial to a precise construction drawing. Another way math is useful is in cooking as math is used to add ingredients to recipes in the right amounts and proportions.
Additionally, in political science, it gives people an understanding of how the government system works and it gives people awareness of political thoughts and political activities. Furthermore, political science is related to the law so, to be a good lawyer, a background in political science is critical because liberal education exposes an individual to different subjects. “Undergraduates who forsake too many humanities courses fail to see an overarching reality: Over years and decades, leadership accrues to the man or woman who understands the human condition” (Dunn, 24).
Let’s not forget about history. In history, students learn about the past and when people have knowledge in history, we learn about the past. Therefore, we do not make the same errors that were made in the past.
I decided to take a Spanish course this semester. Spanish is the second spoken language in the United States. Knowing another language helps with communication and a person can relate to another person that does not fully comprehend English. Ultimately, liberal education in modern society is valuable. It aids everyone in day-to-day life. I understand a large number of people does not agree and would rather go to a trade school so they do not have to undertake liberal arts classes.
However, even if liberal education does not land people with a high-paying job, they have furthered their intelligence and have a better understanding of society. They are much wiser because success comes from learning and there is always something new to learn. “The economic case for the liberal arts rests on the belief that while they don’t necessarily track the students directly into high-paying jobs, they do encourage lifelong learning and career versatility—qualities that pay off in the long run” (Gordon, 42-44).