13 August 2010

On the humanities

An excerpt from an essay entitled: Learning How to Learn. (Honors Law Substantive Quarter Paper: The essence, relevance, and importance of the humanities) 14 April 2008.

It was Plato who asserted that, "if [one] cannot retain what he learns, his forgetfulness will leave no room in his head for knowledge" (Rosen). And that is the most prominent result of the Humanities method of teaching: knowledge- knowledge true and unforgotten, knowledge of how to think and not just what to think. It has become the heartfelt conviction of the Humanities to equip its students with the tools necessary to succeed professionally, and, considering that we never stop learning, knowledge of how to be an effective learner is essential in any professional's life.

It was an academic environment such as this that increased my passion for learning when I thought it was impossible. I discontinued reading words and began to understand thoughts. I discontinued memorizing facts and began to form opinions. I discontinued doing the work and began doing what I needed to fully understand the material. No longer did I allow questions to go unanswered. No more was I satisfied with only receiving the grade.


With classes such as these- classes that promote academic excellence over easy-to-come-by passing grades- learning is no longer a process; it becomes an experience. In an Humanities classroom no answers are easy to come by, yet none are "right". Humanities eliminates indifference from the learners vocabulary and replaces it with scholarship: scholarship in antecedence of knowledge, scholarship in antecedence of understanding, and scholarship in antecedence of success.

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