Friday, September 4, 2009

Only Connect

I've decided to change the title of the blog to signal a more focused experience. Yet at the same time, I do not want to limit the scope of what's possible to talk about. Thus, I borrow my title from an article of the same name which appeared in The American Scholar some years ago. Only Connect...: The Goals of a Liberal Education by Prof. William Cronon is one of those rare texts that has the ability to shift the reader's perspective almost immediately it is so profound and far reaching in its view of "the goals of a liberal education," which are really (though we've lost this history) the goals of American Public Education. I couldn't avoid this article when I first spied it in an abridged form in the Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter. I consumed the article, copied it numerous times, distributed it to high school juniors and seniors, and it has become a seminal text in my education library.

The thing is, the article is not simply about education as something that happens within the walls of an institution. It's about living, growing, and learning to think freely and openly. And in that, I find the best description of what this blog will now be about. "Only Connect" means to live so that every experience is an opportunity to learn, to grow. It's what I try to instill in my students, it's an imperative that if practiced regularly leads one to find patterns and similarities rather than differences and distances. It's a way of seeing the world that is unsurpassed for clarity and understanding and appreciation of beauties of all sorts.

How, in the end, could education be more beautiful than that?

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