liberal arts

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liberal arts,

term originally used to designate the arts or studies suited to freemen. It was applied in the Middle Ages to seven branches of learning, the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The study of the trivium led to the Bachelor of Arts degree, and the quadrivium to the Master of Arts. During the Renaissance, the term was interpreted more broadly to mean all of those studies that impart a general, as opposed to a vocational or specialized, education. This corresponds rather closely to the interpretation used in most undergraduate colleges today, although the curriculum of the latter is more flexible than that of the Renaissance university.


See M. Van Doren, Liberal Education (1959); J. Barzun, The Teacher in America (1945); Harvard Committee, General Education in a Free Society (1945); T. Woody, Liberal Education for Free Men (1951); A. W. Griswold, Liberal Education and the Democratic Ideal (1959, rev. ed. 1962); C. Weinberg, Humanistic Foundations of Education (1972); B. Kimball, Orators and Philosophers (1986); writings of Robert Maynard HutchinsHutchins, Robert Maynard,
1899–1977, American educator, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., studied at Oberlin College, grad. Yale, 1921, taught in the Yale law school (1925–27), and served as dean (1927–29). He became president of the Univ.
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References in periodicals archive ?
We also need to think seriously about recreating and supporting institutions that dedicate themselves specifically to teachers, teacher educators, and the ideal of liberal curriculum for all.
The more familiar community concerns about a liberal curriculum of controversial books that "have no place" in the classroom, much less on our library shelves, gave way to new concerns about our perhaps more conservative approaches.
This lack of breadth together with the stability of the liberal curriculum appeared to be a source of intellectual disengagement on the part of students, this despite attempts at more student-centered pedagogy in some introductory "workshop" courses.

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