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New Visions in Education

A large crowd, including many advocates of alternative and humanist schools, greeted David T. Hansen at Columbia University's Teachers College recently where he spoke movingly about the purposes and possibilities in education.

 Taking a lesson from his new book Ethical Visions of Education, which includes the ideas and visions of ten of the most important educational philosophers of the twentieth century, he proposed "The Idea of a Cosmopolitan Education as a Response to a Changing World." He describes a cosmopolitan education as one that "encourages people to learn from all contacts in life and not to recoil from what is different." He has "images of human solidarity" and (following the ancient Greek model) "citizens of the world."

In addition to these basic values, essential components of a cosmopolitan philosophy are a "moral compass" and "an engine of ideas." Morality is reflected in how we live our lives and how we regard and treat others. Ideas are generated when all subject matter is considered worthy of study and curricula "expand over space and time." 

This article appeared in the April 23, 2007 edition of the Education Update Online. 


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