This course is an exploration of the value of education, the necessity of education, and the role that a liberal arts education can play in the development of our lives and our humanity. We will also examine the possibility of failure, and the obstacles we face on the path toward self-realization. Students in this course are offered an unusual opportunity: you will be asked to learn quite a bit, through reading and discussing a series of classic philosophical, literary and religious texts, centering on the theme of education. Also, by participating in this course, you will engage in a university-wide discussion about the role of a liberal arts education in the modern world. Students in this class can help shape the future of education at SIUE: this is one of the hopes associated with the course. Thus at the outset of your educational career, you are invited to develop and exchange your ideas about education with professors and administrators of the university.
Books to purchase:
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin)
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (Dover)
Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition (Yale)
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild (Anchor)
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why (Touchstone)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Selected Essays (Bantam).
A Blank Journal.
David L. Mech, The Wolf (selections).
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Colloquies (selections); Adages (selections).
Joseph Addison, “The Education of an Heir” (The Spectator, No.123).
The Book of Genesis, 1-12; Proverbs, 1-4; Koheleth, 1-5.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “My Lost Youth” (poem).
Edgar Allen Poe, “Eldorado” (poem).
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections).
John Dewey, “Philosophy and Civilization” (an essay).
John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of the University (selections).
Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education” (an essay).
1. Class Participation. (20%)
Attend every session. Come prepared to speak intelligently about the readings for the day (you will be assigned ongoing grades for your participation in the classroom).
2. Keep a Reading Journal. (20%)
Purchase a special notebook, in which to keep your notes and to record your reflections. This can also be expanded into a daily journal of thoughts: a day-book and diary. I will collect and examine these from time to time.
3. Précis of Readings. (10%)
Ten short (1-2 pp.) analytical pieces, explaining the leading ideas of the readings: due in class, on the day of discussion.
4. Eight-page paper: “On the Nature and Meaning of Education.” (25%)
A paper based on the course readings and your reflections: a first draft is due at mid-semester. The final draft is due at the end of the course.
5. An oral presentation in the “Seminar on Liberal Arts Education.” (25%)
A further development of readings and the first draft of your paper: what is your current understanding of education? What should it include? How should it be done? What can you recommend to others? What should be the role of a university?
What should be done at our university?
Class Sessions: Readings & Themes
Nature and Nurture: What is Education?
* week 1 *
Mon. August 22
Introduction and introductions
Wed. August 24
David L. Mech, The Wolf (selections) – e-reserve
Fri. August 26
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Colloquies (selections) Adages (selections) – e-reserve
Joseph Addison, “The Education of an Heir,” (Spectator, No.123) – e-reserve
Becoming Human: The Origins of Education
* week 2 *
Mon. August 29
The Book of Genesis, 1-12; Proverbs, 1-4; Koheleth, 1-5. – e-reserve
Wed. August 31
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Fri. September 2
Education and the Quest for Maturity
* week 3 *
Mon. September 5
(Labor Day - no class)
Wed. September 7
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections) – e-reserve
Fri. September 9
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “My Lost Youth” (poem) – e-reserve
Edgar Allen Poe, “Eldorado” (poem) – e-reserve
* week 4 * Mon. September 12 Novalis, Henry von Ofterdingen Wed. September 14 Novalis, continued Fri. September 16 Novalis, continued
Part Three: Self-Education & Life-Long Education * week 5 * Mon. September 19 Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography Wed. September 21 Franklin, continued Fri. September 23 Franklin, continued
Part Four: Tradition and Revolt: What is at Stake in Education? * week 6 * Mon. September 26 Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition Wed. September 28 Pelikan, continued Fri. September 30 Pelikan, continued
* week 7 * Mon. October 3 Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild Wed. October 5 Krakauer, continued Fri. October 7 Krakauer, continued
Part Five: Education and the Meaning of Life * week 8 * Mon. October 10 Film: “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” Wed. October 12 John Dewey, “Philosophy and Civilization” – e-reserve Fri. October 14 Dewey, continued
* week 9 * Mon. October 17 Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why Wed. October 19 Bloom, continued Fri. October 21 Bloom, continued
Part Six: The Role of the University * week 10 * Mon. October 24 John Henry, Cardinal Newman, The Idea of the University – e-reserve Wed. October 26 Newman, continued Fri. October 28 Newman, continued
* week 11 * Mon. October 31 Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education” – e-reserve Wed. November 2 Arendt, continued Fri. November 4 Arendt, continued
Part Seven: The Liberal Arts: a Training in Freedom? * week 12 * Mon. November 7 SIUE documents on General Education Wed. November 9 SIUE documents, continued Fri. November 11 SIUE documents, continued
* week 13 * Mon. November 14 Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar Wed. November 16 Emerson, continued Fri. November 18 Emerson, continued
*Thanksgiving Break: November 21-27*
Part Eight: Seminar on Liberal Arts Education * week 14 * Student Presentations: Mon. November 28 Student Presentations (Faculty & Administration visitors) Wed. November 30 Student Presentations (Faculty &Administration visitors) Fri. December 2 Student Presentations (Faculty & Administration visitors)
* week 15 * Student, Faculty & Administrator Roundtables: Mon. December 5 The Potential of Liberal Arts Education Wed. December 7 Education and Maturity: The Art of Living Fri. December 9 Education for Freedom and Citizenship