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In this article we will discuss Oakeshott's radical approach to liberal learning. We will also discuss how to foster student engagement and discuss some lessons learned from the Great Conversations program. The key to engaging students in discussion is to listen as much as you speak. The liberal arts emphasize considerateness, so we must make every effort to listen to others and contribute our voices to the conversation.
Discussion of Oakeshott's radical approach to liberal learning
Oakeshott was a twentieth-century English academic who made substantial contributions to political theory and philosophy of history. He was considered a conservative theorist during the Cold War, but later emerged as one of the most important liberal theorists. Oakeshott believed in the importance of a non-utilitarian liberal education and argued that liberal education must be more than simply a process of learning facts.
Oakeshott's father was a member of the Fabian Society, a socialist organization whose symbol was the tortoise. His mother was a nurse who had a lifelong interest in charitable work. In his early twenties, Oakeshott enrolled at Cambridge, where he was elected life fellow. He later taught at Nuffield College, Oxford, and became Professor of Political Science at the LSE.
Oakeshott's ideas reflect his years of reading European thought and have been sharpened by philosophical reflection. He argues that philosophical questions are interrelated and require wide-ranging critical reflection. His writings frequently explore the tension between individuality and barbarism.
After the Second World War, Oakeshott shifted his focus to politics, particularly in relation to the controversies of the day. His mentor, Ernest Barker, encouraged him to write about political philosophy. He published a collection of contemporary European texts including Leviathan and Hobbes on Civil Association, as well as numerous essays on the ideals of representative democracy and the principles of civil society. He also founded the Cambridge Journal, which treated political debate as civilized conversation.
Steps to foster student engagement
There are several steps that colleges and universities can take to promote student engagement in liberal learning. One of these steps is to provide a sense of ownership in the learning process. Student engagement is often measured through measures of student effort and participation. This is important because student effort affects the outcome of learning.
Student engagement is an important indicator of success in a college or university. Engaged students are more likely to succeed academically and to be satisfied with their college experience. A college or university can foster this by focusing on the factors that contribute to student engagement. Listed below are some of these factors:
o Promote diversity. Diversity is important to fostering student engagement, so schools and universities should make a point of recruiting a diverse student body. By fostering diverse perspectives and creating a welcoming environment, students can question each other's views. This can be done by providing dedicated spaces for students to interact with each other and by offering a rich co-curricular program.
o Develop projects that relate to students' lives. One study found that a class project that addresses problems in their community can be highly engaging. The majority of students engaged in the project, but only seven percent of students felt the project was an improvement on their learning. One student admitted that extra credit was the main motivation for doing the project, which may not contribute to their intrinsic motivation to learn.
Lessons from the Great Conversations program
Designed to foster collaboration and intellectual exchange, the Great Conversations program brings together scholars and students from a variety of disciplines. The course topics reflect the diversity of the liberal arts faculty and highlight the best research in the humanities, social sciences, and performing arts. This innovative program is made possible through the Ann Gill Faculty Development Fund, which promotes liberal arts research, faculty development, and outreach.
The program includes first-year writing, Biblical and theological studies, and historical and literary studies. It emphasizes collaborative learning, with three-person teaching teams bringing various disciplines to bear on the material. It's a unique and engaging program that will leave participants inspired. But, before you start making the most of the program, there are some things you should know about it.
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