My starting point with this document was to consider the question: what is a liberal education? How are we defining this?
My understanding based on this reading is that liberal education is not just about filling a student’s mind with facts. Indeed, this is something directly linked to an illiberal education on page 20 where they are talking about testing and say: “To assess the outcomes of an illiberal education intended not to free the mind but to fill it…”
Instead, the object of a liberal education is to encourage students to think for themselves. To learn how to think, rather than what to think.
There are a number of references as well to lifelong learning and also to the object not being just to equip someone for their first job after graduation, so there is a sense that a liberal education does not stop on the day of graduation, but continues on throughout life as they – it is hoped – actively engage in a positive way with the democratic process and societal problems.
Having defined that, how does that then link to our discussion here at FOSIL?
One possible point is this one on page 19: “…an immersive, inquiry-based exploration of a significant problem that is defined personally by the student. Typically, these are problems amenable only to provisional solutions, which must be worked out collaboratively by bringing to bear evidence-based reasoning and considered judgment.”
Which sounds like a very FOSIL-like statement in itself.