I am so glad you are here! If you haven’t discovered by now, I am deeply passionate about teaching and helping teachers like you to excite and encourage your students in thinking critically about the world around us.
Every so often, I find myself in a position where I need to justify my profession and the Liberal Arts, in general. It’s interesting to find that many people are unsure what the Liberal Arts is and question its value in the 21st Century, and I imagine that since you are here, you may have similar experiences.
In another post, I offer my own ideas about what Liberal Arts means, but here I’d like to offer my insight and perspective about why Liberal Arts are essential.
It’s about the skills, not the profession.
In short, the Liberal Arts is essential because it focuses on critical thinking and communication skills and less on a dedicated career path or area of expertise.
If you yourself teach what would be classified as a liberal arts course, you may have heard the following: I already passed _ (insert subject here such as English, Psychology, or History) in the _ grade. Why do I have to take it again?
These are valid questions, and ones that deserve well-thought-out answers.
Here is how I respond. It’s not the career at the end of the degree, and it’s not the final product (the paper, the essay, even the class discussion) at the end of the class that’s important. It’s the brain work and critical thinking one does in order to get there that’s most important. And that, my friends, applies to everything we do in life. It’s hard to actually see it, but it’s there.
Think broad, not narrow.
One of the most common criticisms of liberal arts courses and programs of study is that it is not definitive, and therefore, does not align with a specific area of expertise or career. To this, I would argue two things: first, that’s the point, and second, that may just be essential. Considering the ever-changing global market and needs of companies and employers, a person who has a well-rounded education may be better suited for the jobs of the future because they are able to adapt, critically think across disciplines, and make connections where specific expertise in a field may not be as effective in the same pursuit.
The job market today is looking for individuals who can identify problems and come up with creative solutions, individuals who can work together with other people and can effectively communicate an idea or position. Knowledge of culture and possession of critical thinking and communication skills is essential in today’s job market. All of these skills are taught in Liberal Arts courses.
I am so glad you have stopped by and sincerely hope you are able to discover ideas and resources that you can incorporate into your own classes!
Feel free to browse my Teachers Pay Teachers store or shop on my website where you can discover a number of resources dedicated to critical thinking and analysis!
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