It is impossible to imagine modern education without Liberal Arts programs. The educational model became popular in the second half of the 20th century in the USA and later moved to European countries.
The principal goal of a Liberal Arts program is to provide immense possibilities to develop students’ personalities, teach to think critically and obtain skills to articulate their own thoughts. Students don’t get a specialization in a certain area of expertise. They enjoy deep knowledge (including interdisciplinary one), provided within the framework of the chosen Concentration courses. Humanities and social sciences are in the main focus of the given educational model. Liberal Arts Education prepares for an opportunity to constantly change a profession and a professional identity in the modern world.
Studying within the Liberal Arts program framework allows students to develop the following expertise and skills:
- evaluative and critical thinking;
- creative thinking;
- efficient oral and written communication;
- critical and reflexive reading;
- researching skills; efficient representation of the material;
- realization of independent reasoning
- cooperation with others; creating shared projects; work in groups of opinion allies;
- self-confidence and self-understanding;
- and many others.
The main difference of the Liberal Arts program from the traditional system of Belarusian education is its focus on a students’ individual choice, usage of teaching interactive technologies, dialogue-based teaching model (instead of usual dictation) as well as chances for active communication with the teaching staff. Students have the right for choosing courses in line with their area of expertise. On choosing a certain concentration – a set of basic courses- they can select additional courses from other concentrations. It allows any student to create an individual academic schedule and receive a unique set of competences.
Jonathan Becker, Vice President and Dean for International Affairs of Bard College describes in detail education within the Liberal Arts framework in his article: “What is liberal Arts Education and what it is not”.