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Jean-Louis Allard.

Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, c1982.
130pp, paper, $7.95.
ISBN 2-7603-1157-0.

Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Theories of education seem to be unending. Wherever one turns in this field someone has come up with a better, and often more costly, idea of how we humans learn. This little booklet is an exception. Its aim is to tell what all this education business is about, viz., what human beings are to be educated for.

In six chapters, the last of which merits reading first, professor Allard presents clearly and concisely the concept of education of Jacques Maritain. For those educators and students of education familiar with the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, this work provides a refreshing review. For those unfamiliar with this genius of the Middle Ages, it serves as an inspiring introduction.

The first three chapters deal with the philosophical underpinnings of the human person, knowledge, society, and freedom. The last three apply Maritain's (St. Thomas's) approach directly to the educational scene today, particularly at the secondary and university level. The primary goal of education is described as the conquest of internal and spiritual freedom, i.e., human liberation through knowledge and wisdom, goodwill and love. The secondary goal is seen as guiding personal development in the social sphere, awakening and strengthening both the sense of freedom, of obligation and responsibility. It is to these two goals that this work addresses itself.

In addition to the two prefaces, the table of contents appears in an outline format giving the reader at a glance the major themes and sub-themes discussed in each chapter. The introduction provides the reader with a good understanding of the man and philosopher Jacques Maritain. The annotated bibliography of almost eight pages contains many of his important works.

Although the thrust of this volume originated in the thirteenth century, its impact and momentum is felt in the twentieth century where educators and their institutions permit their students to experience a liberal education. This work should be required reading for all students of educational theory.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H. S., Chomedey, QB.
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