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Liberal Arts: Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning in the liberal arts can be traced back to antiquity, when seven fields of study (septem artes liberalis) were developed by the Greeks and, centuries later, grouped into a normative program of education by the Romans. The seven fields of study consisted of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). This classical origin is significant, helping to account for the air of prestige, or elitism, that often accompanies a course of study in the liberal arts. At the same time, the hand-me-down lineage points to a less obvious but equally important feature of the liberal arts as a curricular approach: that, despite their age, they can be accommodated to a variety of social, cultural, and ...

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