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What does it mean to be an educated person? An historical overview.

By Natalie Woods

Introduction

Plato, Aristotle, and Rousseau associated the aims of education with beliefs about society, reason and emotion, and knowledge and freedom. Their treatment of these themes profoundly influenced ideals of the ‘educated person’ that emerged in the West during the 19th century. A review of literature published since the late 19th century revealed that these ideals generally fell into one of four broad categories: the rational individual; the worker; the explorer; and, the critical intellectual. Each vision made assumptions about society, human nature, knowledge, and freedom. This review outlines those visions, discusses the tensions between them, and analyses the influence they have had on contemporary educational thought and policy in New Zealand.

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Filed under Criticism of theories, Dispelling myths, General, History of education, Our research