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Liberal Education

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Tradition, as used by Fadiman and Bloom is a structured, well-organized, and conventionally agreed system of learning or acquisition of knowledge. This system involves studying what has been discovered about the natural phenomenon. In this system, disciplines such as mathematics, history, or even philosophy, are critical in helping us discover what we cannot discover for ourselves, and help us become whole souls.

Both Bloom and Fadiman are of the view that liberal education helps us to discover selves and not be lost. In particular, Fadiman says that this system of education makes us rational beings who can be transformative instead of adaptive. This view echoes with that of Bloom, where he argues that a culture or any system devoted to unfocused feeling, passion can deafen a person to the commonly accepted notion of the great tradition. In the great tradition, students are not able to see for themselves and rationally evaluate the art and thought behind the great tradition. It can only be compared to a tune of music, to which one dances without giving thought to words composing the music. Such is a place, where the great tradition leads to its adherents.

When human beings are rational, the result of the tradition is that they are able to judge situations and transform them accordingly, rather than conforming to what the situations demand. At this level of human development, it is not possible to get lost in the fog of conformation or adaptation. This is what Fadiman argues. In a similar version, Bloom remarks that seeing for ourselves rescues us from quick fixes and dull reasoning, so we cannot get lost.

Freire offers a modified view of what Fadiman and Bloom see as tradition. This view can be regarded to as contributive, since it adds some more insights on what Fadiman and Bloom view as tradition. In one dimension, he agrees with Fadiman that the tradition is important if humans are to know the history beyond their limited experiences. Another school of thought by Freire that rhymes with that of Fadiman is the transformative ability that the tradition offers to humans. On page 87, he remarks that humans have a sense of project which implies that they can change the environment. On a higher dimension, he points out that the traditions should be educational and can be critiqued, modified and even challenged.

Freire also suggests that the digestive view of liberal education serves only to entrench the culture of silence, whereby the students do not critique the knowledge. He says that a genuine dialogue between the students and the teacher brings transformative social progress. According to him, this is what the true education should achieve. On a different standpoint, Freire argues that the common means of literacy training are not sufficient. This is in contrast to Fadimans view that sees the tradition as the right method of passing on knowledge. This is what Freire refers to as dominator values which only produce mythical views.

Again, Freire downplays the aspect of conditioning which propagandizes others. He claims that this aspect of conditioning manipulates the mode of thinking. To avoid this situation, Freire advices that learners must labor to uncover the attitudes behind the conventional cultural reality. Having uncovered those attitudes, analytical evaluation ought to be done, which will help the students confront the cultural reality in a new way.

Holt takes a complete strange standpoint with regard to the view of the tradition. His standpoint is what Fadiman describes as the tradition gone wrong. He says that the tradition subjects students to authority without the ability to learn something, whereby they do not learn much science but learn to revere the scientists. According to him, they are conditioned to believe that everything we may need can only come from the scientists. He argues that the system of compulsory education is an impediment to a childs natural curiosity, since they are forced to learn what someone else thinks is necessary. The phrase, something someone else thinks is important is what Fadiman would call the tradition. Holt is of the view that children could learn everything by themselves from scratch, if their curiosity is not thwarted.

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With regard to Blooms, Fadimans, and Freires view, Holt does not consider the tradition as plausible means of passing over knowledge. According to him, putting children through liberal education stamps out their natural curiosity, and cannot learn what they need at the proper time. This clearly indicates that he does not consider the limitations of learning everything in various disciplines, such as history, mathematics, or philosophy among others from scratch.

The diverse views by different authors about liberal education help in gaining a deeper perspective of the tradition. Fadiman argues that generative disciplines such as physics, biology, languages, and mathematics, among others, are imperative for human development. He stresses the importance of tradition in passing on what we are not able to discover for ourselves. His argument is plausible, since human limitations such as life span and intelligence are limited. It is not practically possible to learn everything by ourselves, and without guidance.

Bloom suggests that a way of life with mere unfocused feeling can make someone deaf and insensitive to the great tradition. He observes that liberal education is no longer viewed as critical for the production of complete souls. According to him, the society has lost the idea of noble goals for its youths. For person whose reaction is the main determinants of passions, bloom stresses music is important to the persons mental health. Effectively, one is not explicitly able to control himself/herself, but responds to the appealing of the music. This is what the great tradition achieves to its subscribers.

Freire, stresses that subjective view of knowledge only achieves to sustain the culture of silence. In the culture of subjective knowledge, students are only allowed to absorb theories without challenging them. In his argument, he says that real transformation is only achieved by genuine dialogue between the teacher and the students. In addition, he remarks that the conventional means of passing on knowledge are insufficient, since they only serve to create cultural myths. These are the cultural myths around which students form attitudes. He remarks that these cultural myths are the reason behind many of their attitudes.

The reason why children cannot learn what they want at the right time is because of the influence of compulsory education. This is in the view of Hot liberal education forces one to learn what someone else deems important, and this stamps out the natural curiosity. According to him, scientist are the centre of attention and the science. For this reason, the natural curiosity, especially in children, is hindered.

In conclusion, the whole issue of education or the so-called tradition should be able to fulfill intellectual, social, and economic needs among other benefits. For these needs to be met, a system of passing on knowledge should be inclusive in the sense that it should consider critiques of the students. If a system fails to meet the above needs plus others, it achieves the opposite of what a relevant system ought to achieve.

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