Legacies of the Yale Report of 1828 in Liberal Education

Seok Min Hong
2021 The Korean Association of General Education  
The Yale Report was published in 1828 as a response to the rapid geographic, economic, and educational expansion in early, nineteenth-century America. The Report defined the purpose of collegiate liberal education as one that should 'lay the foundation of superior education.' According to the Report, this was to be best achieved by disciplining and grounding the mind on the faculty of psychology. In this process, the Report left both positive and negative legacies which have had long-term
more » ... s on liberal education. The Report defined liberal education as one that provides general basic theories and principles. In addition, by stressing the importance of a 'thorough education,' the Report not only laid the basis for general education in later centuries, but also distinguished liberal education from professional, or vocational education, and the role and function of colleges accordingly. Moreover, the Report made a distinction between undergraduate and graduate studies. However, this distinction made it possible for liberal education to be downgraded into basic education for the study of concentrations. Meanwhile, the overemphasis on universal mental faculties which is content-neutral made it possible for non-liberal disciplines to be included within the curriculum of liberal education, which in turn would lower the status of liberal education. In addition, teacher-centered faculty psychology enabled the college as the guardian who took the parental responsibilities to enforce prescribed curriculum on their students. Moreover, faculty psychology also enabled liberal education to accommodate the new entrepreneurial and business demands of a rapidly changing society and thereby opened a way for neo-republicanism to be realized in America at that time. However, ironically, the discipline of the mind which was originally a tool and a skill for liberal education became its purpose since the notion of mental faculties was content-free as well as value-free. As a result, liberal education lacked virtues, values, moral⋅ethical ends, and public good. This undesirable phenomenon would give a grave lesson to the liberal education in current Korea enthralled by the notion of 'core competencies.'
doi:10.46392/kjge.2021.15.4.23 fatcat:vcpyou3rurb3plilh4dcxgxesy