A “Full House” in the “Hand” of Education

Tammy Chambers
Professor L. Kraeger
English 1301.004
15 October 1998

Imagine living in a world where there are no means of education. The very
thought of this would be enough to send one into shock. Fortunately, America’s colleges
and universities offer a variety of educations in various settings. College professors can
find some valuable insights on education from Cardinal Newman, Dr. bell hooks, Dr.
Mike Rose, as well as Gwendolyn Brooks and bring forth their ideas in order to inform
students and prepare them for the kind of education that they should pursue.
Cardinal Newman, a well--known Anglican priest, had the idea of a University in
mind. He stated that, “It is a great point then to enlarge the range of studies which a
University professes, even for the sake of the students; and, though they cannot pursue
every subject which is open to them, they will be the gainers by living among those and
under those who represent the whole circle”(40--41). He believed that it would give
students a variety of subjects in which they could expand their knowledge of. He also
wanted professors to expand on each subject in the same manner so as to keep balance
among them all. He gave the example,
In the combination of colors, very different effects are produced by a difference
in their selection and juxtaposition; red, green, and white change their shades,
according to the contrast to which they are submitted. And in like manner, the
drift and meaning of a branch of knowledge varies with the company in which it
is introduced to the student. If his reading is confined simply to one subject,
certainly it has a tendency to contract his mind. If it is incorporated with others, it
depends on those others as to the kind of influence which it exerts upon him(40).
Teachers also play a big role in education. They can guide students to choose certain
subjects and evaluate the ones they have chosen, to see if they will benefit from them.
Cardinal Newman explains this as, “profiting by intellectual tradition; apprehending the
great outlines of knowledge, the principles on which it rests, the scale of its parts; its
lights and its shades, its great points and its little, as the student otherwise cannot
apprehend them--a Liberal education”(41). In Cardinal Newman’s view, professors
should encourage students to go to a University because it not only is best for them, but it
enables them to play a key roll in their society. A University aims at raising the
‘intellectual tone of society’ and gives people the chance to form their own views and
opinions about issues. Overall, “the methods by which people are formed are pretty
much the same”(Newman 41), but according to Cardinal Newman, it is the University
that precisely sets them apart from others.
Perhaps looking at Dr. bell hooks’ views will give college professors yet more
factors to consider when thinking about educational advise for students. She took her
aunt’s name and decided to make it lower case in order to emphasize the material in her
writing and not herself. Her purpose is to motivate students to get an education because
her own was difficult and hard--won. As she says, “To a southern black girl from a
working--class background who had never been on a city bus, who had never stepped on
an escalator, who had never traveled by plane, leaving the comfortable confines of a
small town Kentucky life to attend Stanford University was not just frightening; it was
utterly painful”(85). She believes that material, racial, and social status makes a big
difference in students’ lives when it comes to education. If one feels inferior in any way,
it could cause them to think twice before attending a college or university, if they even do
at all. She said that, “class differences were boundaries no one wanted to face or talk
about”(87). But she believes that it is important to share experiences and personal stories
in order to identify and connect with people from similar backgrounds. She says, “It is
crucial that those among us who resist and rebel, who survive and succeed, speak openly
and honestly about our lives and the nature of our personal struggles, the means by which
we resolve and reconcile contradictions”(89). At the same time, she believes in speaking
simply, with a language that is easily recognized and understood. She uses the example
of speaking as if directly to an audience, rather than reading directly from a prepared
paper. She also believes one’s roots