Monday, January 12, 2009

Our English Syllabus

In this writing by Lewis, he gives some thoughts on the education system. From what I understood Lewis is saying that there are two main typed of education. The first is a broad education where we learn surface, but important, information from a wide variety of subjects. Another type of education is where we specialize in one area of study and become an “expert” on the topic. The problem is that regardless of which type of education you pursue you are missing out on all the information from the other type. Lewis says that the best solution is to achieve a good balance of the two different types of learning – or at least try the best we can.

One of my favorite lines from this reading was when Lewis said “for nothing that we have to offer will do him good unless he can be persuaded to forget all about self-improvement for three or four years, and to absorb himself in getting to know some part of reality, as it is in itself.” I think that many people come to college and think about all the knowledge that they will receive in their time at school and what good it is going to do them. Something that may be pushed aside and forgotten is humility. We need to be humble to learn. Before we can make good of what we learn we have to forget about self-improvement and immerse ourselves in the content we are being taught, then we can go and see what we can offer the world with what we have learned.

Another insight of Lewis’ that I really appreciated was when he stated “things are understood by what precedes them rather than by what follows them.” When we approach a situation our first impression is based on the knowledge that we already have and know. What we have learned is going to change the way we see situations and in the long run the way we have seen the world. For example, if I were to learn that someone I know was skipping class all the time I might judge them as being a slacker based on the information that I have learned. Even though the reason this person is missing class is because they are very sick, since I don’t know that I base my opinion solely on that which I do know. It is important to be educated before judging, and to seek all the knowledge we can so we don’t have a skewed worldview.

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