Walking Bridges: Placing the Liberal Arts and Sciences between Secondary and Higher Education

in International Journal of Chinese Education
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When are the most appropriate times to receive a liberal arts and sciences education? The liberal arts and sciences model is meant to achieve aims that include general cognitive abilities, moral and social growth, and interdisciplinary understanding. This paper considers the case for studying the liberal arts and sciences in secondary school in comparison with studying them in college/university. Success in fostering cognitive skills such as critical thinking is used as a basis for comparison of these two settings. A review of empirical research suggests that general cognitive gains are not unique to the liberal arts and sciences nor to tertiary education, but that social and moral education may constitute a more unique advantage of the liberal arts. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for the justification of the liberal arts and sciences in China.

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  • 3

    Ibid. p. 31.

  • 5

    RothblattThe Living Arts27.

  • 7

    Ernest Pascarella et al.“How the Instructional and Learning Environments of Liberal Arts Colleges Enhance Cognitive Development,” Higher Educationno. 66(5) (2013): 569-583.

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  • 8

    Marijk Van Der Wende“Trends Towards Global Excellence in Undergraduate Education: Taking the Liberal Arts Experience into the 21st Century,” International Journal of Chinese Education no. 2 (2013): 289-307.

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  • 9

    RothblattThe Living Arts43.

  • 10

    Jonathan Becker“What a Liberal Arts Education is . . . and is Not,” Bard Institute for International Liberal Education (2003) retrieved from http://iile.bard.edu/research/.

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  • 13

    RothblattThe Living Arts49.

  • 15

    David Yunchao Chen“China’s Mass Higher Education: Problem, Analysis, and Solutions,” Asia Pacific Education Review 5(1) (2004) pp. 9-10.

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  • 16

    See: Xiangmin Chen“General Education Reform and its Implications for Student Learning: The Case of Yuanpei Program of Peking University in China,” Nagoya Higher Education Research no. 11 (2011); Hu Xianzhang and Cao Li “Meaning and Methods.” In General Education and the Development of Global Citizenship in Hong Kong Taiwan and Mainland China: Not Merely Icing on the Cake ed. Xing Jun (2012): 61; Weifang Min “Chinese Higher Education” Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges (2004): 53-84; Yiqiu Wang “Reconsideration of the Relationship of Culture Quality Education and General Education” Peking University Education Review no. 3 (2009): 0-13.

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  • 25

    Tony WagnerThe Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—and What We Can Do About It (New York: Basic Books2010).

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  • 28

    Ibid.54.

  • 30

    Josipa Roksa and Tania Levey“What Can You Do With That Degree? College Major and Occupational Status of College Graduates Over Time,” Social Forces no. 89.2 (2010): 389-415.

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  • 34

    Ibid.140.

  • 35

    Ibid.161.

  • 37

    RothblattThe Living Arts49.

  • 40

    Tricia Seifert et al.“Liberal Arts Colleges and Good Practices in Undergraduate Education: Additional evidence,” Journal of College Student Development no. 51.1 (2010): 1-22; Ernes Pascarella et al. “How the Instructional and Learning Environments of Liberal Arts Colleges Enhance Cognitive Development” Higher Education no. 66.5 (2013): 569-583.

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  • 43

    Ibid.583.

  • 46

    Anne Saavedra and Juan Esteban Saavedra“Do Colleges Cultivate Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Writing and Interpersonal Skills?” Economics of Education Review no. 30.6 (2011): 1516-1526.

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  • 49

    Tricia A. Seifert et al.“The Effects of Liberal Arts Experiences on Liberal Arts Outcomes,” Research in Higher Education no. 49.2 (2008): 123.

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  • 54

    Nussbaum“Democracy Education and the Liberal Arts” p. 743.

  • 58

    Jinghuan Shi and Yi Lu“Empiricism and Idealism: Do We Need a Mode Shift of General Education in China?” International Journal of Chinese Education no. 1 (2016).

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