arts education

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Julian Baggini wants us to stop conflating educating and employability:

Education is obviously a good thing, but we're not demonstrating the extent of our own if we assert that its value is a no-brainer. If we don't stop and ask why education matters those who keep giving the wrong answer will get away with their mistake.

At a recent forum, he wrote, "I was struck by a bogus assumption that underpinned numerous defences of the value of education, especially in the arts and humanities:"

It shouldn't require highly developed critical thinking skills to spot the hidden premise here. Education is now routinely advocated and defended on the basis of its ability to prepare people for the world of work. Art teaches creativity, philosophy critical thinking, history empathy, sport dedication, and all these things are good because they are transferable skills that can be monetised.

We should not "foreground the economic case for arts education," he continues, because "Our ultimate goals are flourishing lives and thriving societies and the measure of these is not GDP:"

The primary function of education and of the arts is to make us more fully human, to enable us to live as more than just animals caught in the cycle of feeding and reproducing. Lifelong learning matters because it continues to enrich us, not because it enriches the nation's bank balance. That's why it's a tragedy personal musical tuition in state schools has all but disappeared, not because of the concomitant loss to the "creative industries."

His final point is that if we "argue for humanistic education on narrowly utilitarian grounds," then "we've already lost the debate because we're already playing according to the bean-counters' rules."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 20, 2018 10:54 AM.

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