Colleges Should Teach Intellectual Virtues

Posted on February 20, 2012

     The goal of colleges should be to educate their students not only on facts and information but also on “intellectual virtues” such as the love of truth, honesty, courage, fairness, wisdom, and empathy.  Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe, authors of Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Things, have written a very good article about why colleges should do just that.  They discuss the Harvard Medical School doctors who “redesigned their third-year program at a community hospital in Cambridge, Mass., in order to better develop character” by enabling each student to work with a smaller group of patients providing a more empathetic and personal environment.  This allows the med students to not only learn about the practice of medicine but also about how to develop a relationship with their patients and coworkers.  With all of this, knowing the goal is imperative.  Knowing the goal of a college and of a medical school is essential to the way in which they educate their students.  At Areyvut, we too recognize the necessity of goals, and work with individuals catering to their needs.  While assisting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in choosing a Mitzvah project, we recognize that he or she has his or her own goals for the project and idea about who they’d like to help and how.  Our goal is to point them in the right direction to achieve their goals and come out having done a great chesed.  At the end of the day truth, honesty, courage, fairness, wisdom, and empathy can all be learned by doing chesed and giving tzedakah and we should always remember to keep those virtues in mind.

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