What is Liberal Education?

Liberal education refers to the arts education which aimed at developing the powers of intelligence and imagination which helps in attainment of intellectual goals. By the end of middle ages, liberal arts education was the most dominating form of education in the university system. There are three ways in which liberal education has been interpreted:

  1. Liberal means freedom.
  2. Liberal education means education in all knowledge, the sciences, the arts etc.
  3. Liberal education means education which respects the autonomy and freedom of the learners, and does not make use of freedom violating methods like indoctrination.

Liberal education is best defined with its literal meaning. It is education that liberates, that frees the mind from the constraints of particular moment and set of circumstances, that permits one to see possibilities that are not immediately apparent, to understand things,in a larger context, to think about situations conceptually and analytically, to draw upon and muster knowledge when faced with specific situation.

Liberal education was made up of two components:

  • Trivium: It consisted of grammar rhetoric and logic. It taught an art of reading, writing, listening, speaking and sound thinking.
  • Quadrivium: It consisted of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. It taught the art of observation, calculation, measurement and apprehension of the quantitative aspect of things.

Many disciplines in sciences and social sciences which develop the power of mind are also included in liberal-education. The aim of liberal education is cultivation of human mind and developing his intellect in such a way that he can think beyond what is apparent and understand things a much better manner. Some elements of liberal education are present in all forms of education.

Tags: Ma Education

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