Judging from Andrew Delbanco’s experience as a professor of Humanities at Columbia University, I thought his new book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, would provide the standard defense of a liberal arts education. While he strongly advocates the merits of critical thinking utilizing a broad knowledge of history and philosophy, it’s not the dominant theme of his arguments.
I read an article by Motoko Rich in the August 29, 2009 issue of The New York Times that talks about the future of reading. Rich writes about Lorrie McNeill, a middle school teacher in Jonesboro, Georgia who last fall turned over the reading assignments for her seventh and eighth graders to the students themselves.
Rich states that the approach, called reading workshop, is catching on throughout America’s public schools as a way to teach students how to enjoy reading rather than forcing them to read traditional tomes such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved or Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird, a selection that McNeill used to require her students to read.