Christian Long

Liz Coleman: Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education

In TED Talks on April 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Reflection by MARY M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Liz Coleman: Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education

In her talk, Liz Coleman talks about the newly free Russia and Eastern Europe and their want to create a new education system. Since the education had been mostly propaganda commissioned by the state, they wanted to change it to suit the free man and women of Russia. With this rare opportunity to start over, Liberal Arts was chosen because of its “historical commitment to furthering its student’s brosdest intellectual and deepest ethical potential.” They were trying to figure out how to rebuild their universities.

With this, they had come to the U.S. to talk with some of those who closely identified with that kind of education.

Coleman says they spoke with such a passion for what they wanted, and it seemed as if it had been years and years since we held the same passion that they did. Coleman then went on to say that we had become so immersed in becoming an expert in one thing, that we have overlooked certain things. Things have become so broken apart with increasing emphasis on the smaller bits and pieces, on the more obscure. She said that the college student to day is to discard every interest except for one, despite how much everything is connected.

Despite how much of a model our public education has been, it has become noted for its failures.

Coleman then goes on to talk about the past and the future of our education and where we see ourselves going. “Deep thought matters when you’re contemplating what to do about things that matter.” That is the way Coleman’s students put it when talking about a new action-oriented curriculum. People will continue to learn and should learn about everything there is to learn about one thing or another. Coleman says this is something we do all the time and there are those who will spend the rest of their live in researching one particular area of knowledge.

Coleman, however, closes her talk reminding us to use the mind we were given and to explore the world with those around us.

  1. Thank you for the post. It was informative and interesting and I look forward to more in the future.

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