The Humanities In Education Essay

1523 words - 6 pages

The Humanities in Education

Education is the opportunity to learn and grow in your community, society, workplace, and even inside you. Education, quoted from Jon Spayde, a well-known interviewer and editor in his article titled Learning in the Key of Life, is about power: the power to know about the world around you and the people near and far from you. Education is culture, passed down from one group of people to another. We learn about these people through the humanities. Earl Shorris, a teacher for lower-class students quoted in the article Spayde wrote, said to his students on the first day of class, "You've been cheated. Rich people learn the humanities; you didn't. The humanities are a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you" (60). What a powerful statement Shorris shared with his students. But why are the humanities a foundation? What foundation is Shorris talking about? And what constitutes the humanities? This foundation is the basic understanding of other cultures, and the ability to relate to many different types of people. This can be difficult to achieve, but education has the humanities to help. The humanities can be defined many different ways. The Readers Digest Dictionary defines the humanities as: the branches of learning (as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics) (652). This was the third definition of the word. The definition defines the humanities the best, as we know them today. But Spayde has another very interesting way to define the Humanities. He defines the humanities as "those subtle subjects that infuse our minds with great, gushing ideas, but also equip us to think and argue" (61). According to Spayde, humanities will open our minds, make us think in a more creative manner, and also help us be able to think and argue our points more clearly to an audience. Great, gushing ideas are the words Spayde used. Cant you just see those thoughts and ideas? What wonderful descriptive words he used. Arent we all encouraged by our teachers and employers to aspire to great thoughts? The power to have these great thoughts would help anyone achieve their goals, and classes in the humanities will help. Humanities are a vital foundation to education.

A rich number of classes are offered to students in the humanities. If we used the humanities as the foundation of education, vast doors of understanding in todays mixed cultural world would be opened to us. We would be able to think more like people who were once different to us. Spayde calls the humanities subtle subjects because we dont truly know what learning the humanities will do to benefit us. What does Spayde mean when he says subtle subjects? Subtle, as defined in the Readers Digest Dictionary, is...

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