PERSPECTIVE 3: GENERAL EDUCATION AS A SET OF TECHNIQUES,
PERSPECTIVES, AND GENERALIZABLE SKILLS—RATHER THAN A SURVEY OF FOUNDATIONAL
IDEAS—SHOULD BE THE FOCUS WHEN DISCUSSING THE FUTURE OF GENERAL EDUCATION AT
I believe that general education is not about
delivering a corpus of knowledge or even a survey of foundational ideas. Rather,
it is to illustrate for students how a physicist asks questions about the world
and then goes about trying to answer them—and how a philosopher does this, how
a mathematician does this, how an economist does this, and how a poet does
this. The point is to add the techniques and perspectives of many disciplines
to the students’ intellectual arsenals, as well as to hone the generalizable
skills of effective and persuasive writing and public speaking (all classes
have papers, and all classes have oral presentations), of quantitative
reasoning, and of analytical thinking (p. 49).
Adapted from Helfand, D. J. (2013). The social
conquest of general education. The Journal of General Education, 62, 43-51.