Recovering Ancient Wisdom and the 2010 Albertan Education Reforms


  • Sean Steel University of Calgary



This paper critically examines the Government of Alberta's 2010 "Inspiring Education" Report in light of insights drawn from ancient philosophy and some of the world's wisdom traditions. The paper challenges the contention made throughout the Report that its recommendations are "transformational," for while they aim at securing greater future successes for students throughout Alberta, they do not contribute to the cultivation of wisdom whereby any such successes might be enjoyed; rather, evidence in the text of the Report suggests that the vision it espouses will serve to discourage the pursuit of wisdom, particularly in the Committee's demands for accountability and relevance aimed at innovation. Readers are invited to consider what an education-for-wisdom would look like. It is suggested that educational reforms truly concerned with such a "transformation" would need to include time throughout the day for teachers and students to cultivate their contemplative or noetic capacities in an atmosphere of leisure or schole.