Getting of wisdom

Steven Schwartz’s concerns of universities becoming training factories and neglecting a fuller (wisdom based) education, echo back to when I was at Macquarie uni in the 70’s. Then called the ‘arts factory’ MU was offering the rounded Oxbridge degree; insisting arts subjects were a part of all degrees and all students awarded a BA . The science swats always felt cheated by this- and in 1979- the approach was abandoned (with a lot of blood letting), for those doing science and fully reviewed  in the more economic rationalist ‘80s- as students wanted a more marketable degree  – and not the  artsy  degree ( ‘marriage’ 101) . The argument that institutions must offer a more industry oriented education reflected the concerns of the (business) community- at least in the rationalist decades. This orientation also spilt into our schools and perhaps its now time to ask the same question in the schools context- or is the getting of wisdom only for those more ‘aged’?  The teaching of ethics perhaps signals this intention? And the catch-all of C21 learning skills- are focused on learning to learn. How to access, interpret and represent information. But it still falls short of Schwartz’s notion of teaching of wisdom. Of course its difficult to teach wisdom- but maybe its more a question of making the teaching point-‘how would we teach wisdom’? This would make it a more personal undertaking for school students to carry into higher education, when they might come to confront the ultimate questions- and have possible answers.

Governments and markets increasingly determine what and how learning occurs. In turn schools are more assessment driven, meeting  the ‘supposed’ expectations of parents (or is it industry)?  But its more to meet government accountabilities and expectations from vested interests. Is the teaching of wisdom not possible to assess/evaluate in the confines of schools- and therefore not considered to be fit for integrating into curriculum. Skills and competencies are assessable- governments have some  correlation between their spend and economic return.  Does wisdom only come with age?  Perhaps only in a more humanitarian and gentler time will we allow our education systems to embrace wisdom.


About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
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2 Responses to Getting of wisdom

  1. Kevin O'Gorman says:

    The Getting of Wisdom however poorly supported by our education system is vital to the continuing existance of a free society. Schools, training centers and Universities need to be where people have opportunities to examine and express ideas and ideals even in economically focused courses otherwise there will be a continuing narrowing of social engagement and fragmentation of community.

  2. Tahlia Newland says:

    Wisdom is vital to an enlightened society, and since we don’t have that, we obviously should be teaching wisdom. So I totally agree with you on that. I suspect however that there would be some disagreement about what consitutes wisdom, let along how to teach it. Our PM wanted us to teach ethics in school, a terrific idea, but we got a christian scripture teacher 3 days a week employed by the government. I’ve got nothing against christians but scripture isn’t teaching ethics. Ethics should be non religion based otherwise we can simply ignore it because we aren’t Christian or whatever. I would hope that we get enlightened writers of the wisdom curriculum.
    The emotional intelligence people have a good curriculum and methods already sorted out and being used very effectively in the US. This is a good start to wisdom, I just wish we could get it happening here in Australia.

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