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  1. Past hour
  2. Here's another one: 1. Bad argument: Classical and Christian education provides a safe place for children to grow and learn instead of being subjected to the bullying and secular conditioning of public schools. 2. One major flaw: While it is true that Classical and Christian education is safer from violence and bad influences than public schools, being motivated by fear of alternatives does not provide the impetus to receive the goods that Classical and Christian education offers. Treating Classical and Christian education as a haven turns it into a place of retreat or refuge, instead of viewing it as a calling to guard and advance Western Christian heritage. 3. Alternative: Classical and Christian education forms humans in the forge of Western Culture: firing them in time-tested truths, tempering them in the wisdom of our forefathers, forging them in beauty, galvanizing them in goodness, that they may bulwark against buffeting winds of cultural change and break the vices that constrain the glory of man.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Cheryl Floyd

    Reading the classical educators

    WOW. I thought I remembered reading that Plato was the first to coin the term "myth" and its purpose being that of "clothing a truth". Literature was a better embodiment of their ideals than maxims. Do you think these days, a lot of children's literature is too preachy? The truth isn't clothed, it's advertised, it's dressed for war with immorality, or worldview, or threat, or fancy.
  5. Cheryl Floyd

    Distracted from Delight

    That is great reminder. I love Weil's point about attention as well. And it is so true about being on the internet or carrying around a phone at all. It's like we are constantly tempted to think we could be "doing" something better at any moment than what we are actually doing if we just browse our phone. I want my kids to look outside while we are driving, not down at a screen. But I do the same thing when I'm the passenger, because you know, I'm reading classical things... ick.
  6. JTB_5

    Bible/Theology Curriculum

    Regarding your concern in the last paragraph, the short answer is yes, I've seen the same trend in inferior biblical knowledge. We've made some changes (and will be continuing to make more) to ameliorate the problem, but I do suspect the best classical educators can do is stall the retreat--the bulk of the burden falls upon churches and families to be reading and teaching the Bible in their own spheres. One of the things we've done is to treat 7th and 8th grade years as logic-level reviews of their grammar curriculum -- Biblical and Church history. There is so little time in grammar school spent on these things in the grand scheme of things, and it doesn't make sense to expect a 10th grader to remember the details of the Great Schism if the only time they have learned about it was during two to five days of instruction in a 4th grade classroom. I'm not sure how to gain greater and more varied exposure over the course of the entire curriculum that reaches saturation level, especially if the home and church aren't building on, supporting, or otherwise making use of what is happening in the classroom.
  7. Patrick Halbrook

    Privacy settings for this forum section

    Hi Diana, You can do this, but it's not self-evident. Try this: Go to Account Settings Click Email Address (on the left) Enter the name you'd like displayed in the box next to Nickname Change the setting next to Display name publicly as Scroll down and click Update Profile You might need to give the system a couple of hours to make the update, but it ought to work.
  8. Patrick Halbrook

    Bible/Theology Curriculum

    Conceptually, Apologetics fits very nicely into the Rhetoric stage paradigm, especially when it is taught as training for productive dialogue about theological questions, not simply a procession of arguments for Christianity to commit to memory. My preference would be to primarily locate historical questions in History courses; at the same time, touching on a bit of historical background from time to time in a Systematic or Biblical Theology class would provide helpful overlap/reinforcement. As a side note, one of my biggest concerns at the Rhetoric stage is that we need to confirm that students have mastered and retained basic knowledge about the Bible. Assuming we are teaching them all the Grammar-stage facts about the basic Biblical narrative in the years leading up to the Rhetoric stage (and remembering that they may or may not be getting these at home or at church), we can't take for granted that they will remember these particularly well once they get to high school. At the Rhetoric stage we should definitely focus on thinking through and articulating higher-level concepts, not Grammar-stage material. However, a 12th grader who can wax eloquent about Calvin's theology but can never quite remember the basic chronology of events in the Old Testament (and I suspect there's quite a few of them in classical schools) is missing a fundamental part of his or her education, and I worry that our paradigm of the Trivium may lead us to overlook how common this problem may be because we don't want to "waste" time going back over the more simple things students should have already learned. (Does anyone else see this as an issue, or is it just me?)
  9. I haven't read The Power o Habit, but perhaps you could summarize some of its best points?
  10. Patrick Halbrook

    Distracted from Delight

    Cheryl, I think what you've written is a challenge for all of us. I'm reminded of Simone Weil's "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies With a View to the Love of God." She argues that "the development of the faculty of attention forms the real object and almost the sole interest of studies": Part of what I find interesting about Weil's argument is that she is so much less concerned about the content of what is being read or studied than she is about whether we are engaging in study in such a way as to improve our ability to attend to what is before us. If ever there were a system put into place to undermine this goal, it would be the internet. The way every website is set up with advertisements and links everywhere, we can't read one article without being prompted to think, "maybe I should be reading something else instead." And maybe (probably, in fact) there actually better things out there we could be reading. But are we "increasing the power of attention" by the way we browse the internet? For me, usually not.
  11. Thanks for the thoughtful input on this one! I think these are all great ways to flesh out how these concepts are compatible. This is what I've more or less concluded as well, but I still think there is tension there that is worth pondering (a tension rooted not necessarily in conflicting theories, but in reality itself). JTB--I love the broom anecdote, and can't recall if I heard it before. I definitely agree that Tripp's ideas can be difficult to apply effectively with younger children. An adult who does so badly can create confusion and cynicism, especially if kids who are simply demonstrating childish immaturity are told, "you have a heart problem." Unfortunately, I've seen this happen a lot. Karen--both of those quotes are great, and I think they'd apply equally to adults as well. In our case we have more control over being able to choose our habits/liturgies, but once we've chosen them they proceed shape us beyond the mere decision to think or act a particular way. Have any of you also read Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit? It's written from a secular social science perspective, but definitely overlaps with and buttresses these sorts of discussions. Really interesting.
  12. Last week
  13. KarenG

    Classical Education = Critical Thinking?

    This reminds me of David Hicks' argument for dogma, in Norms and Nobility. I don't have my copy handy to quote from, but he makes this same point--that the starting place for learning to think and argue is acceptance or belief in something. I think the underlying nugget of truth behind the idea might be that by believing something, we are giving intellectual assent at a deep level to the idea that there is Truth at all. In general, our culture rejects the idea of absolute truth--it's all relative. There's "your truth" and "my truth," but nothing solid and universally True, and this idea of little-t "truths" which don't apply to everyone gives young people the hopelessness which arises when there is no Truth (even when they don't or can't express it clearly). By embracing a dogma--even if it has to be corrected and refined by questioning or further learning--you are actually embracing the idea that capital-t Truth exists, and that makes an enormous difference in intellectual and spiritual growth. I believe it was in my recent reading of The Liberal Arts Tradition that I was struck by something quoted about grammar... Okay, I found it on my blog--forgive me for quoting a bit of my blog post here: It would be so, so easy to gloss over that while reading this book, but you shouldn't. You really shouldn't. Without reading a word further, you should stop right there and think for a while about why that would be so. Why would "believing" in grammar support a belief in God---make it difficult to "get rid" of God? Just working out a hypothesis for that yourself will alter your perspective of grammar forever, I think. ... Speaking of grammar, Charlotte Mason wrote: It requires some effort of abstraction for a child to perceive that when we speak, we speak about something and say something about it; and he has learned nearly all the grammar that is necessary when he knows that when we speak we use sentences and that a sentence makes sense; that we can put words together so as to make utter nonsense, as,--- "Tom immediately candlestick uproarious nevertheless"---a string of words making perfect nonsense and therefore not a sentence. If we use words in such a way as to make sense we get a sentence; "John goes to school" is a sentence. (Philosophy of Education, p. 209) Why do you suppose Charlotte Mason says that is "nearly all the grammar that is necessary"? (In practice, her students learned more detail than that!) I think it is because it cuts to the heart of language and reveals the inherent structure of language, without which there could be no communication at all, no sense. It is the very logos of language, not of English alone, but all language. And that is why Nietzsche fretted about grammar making it difficult to dispense with God, who alone could create such an order, such a law, like the law of gravity, which no one can break. There are different types of grammar, but they share certain inherent properties, for which I refer you to Augustine. A noun is a noun in any language, and it may be that the contemplation of noun-ness rather than memorizing a definition and identifying random nouns is what makes grammar a university-level art. I quote all of that just to underscore my agreement with the idea that teaching the liberal arts as arts is the best foundation for thinking, and "critical thinking" is probably a misnomer.
  14. JTB_5

    Literature Catechism

    I can't speak for myself, as I haven't used a catechism (though I've tried putting one together), but one of my colleagues is in his second year of using one and he swears by it. His students say it every day and it takes about 15 minutes until they memorize it (which takes less time than you'd think), and then it takes around 10 minutes. He can then have the students use the material from the catechism in class discussions and assessments, which has worked really well.
  15. JTB_5

    Classical Education = Critical Thinking?

    Modern catch phrases tend to be fruitless. If a students learns how to think in the way a classical education teaches one to think (grammatically, logically, rhetorically, historically, contextually, etc.) then such thinking will automatically stimulate criticism when encountering fallacious reasoning and misconstrued perspectives, and if they've learned any compassion for ignorance and enslavement to error, then such criticism will be aimed at correcting rather than ridiculing the source. But that's just pointing out the different aim, without getting at the "how" as you asked. Perhaps the question could be phrased, "what temptations should we avoid?" as well as what actions we should pursue. A good starting point would be for the teacher to model what a thinker should be, and be quick to correct a student who uses his powers to preen his pride.
  16. JTB_5

    Biblical Rhetoric

    I teach three classes, and they get treated somewhat differently with respect to incorporating the Bible. As a general principle, I don't do a lot of integration, because, although we don't want subjects sequestered from one another, we do like to have a division of labor that allows each class to do what it does best, most. We don't want the rhetoric teacher teaching a Bible class, or the Bible teacher teaching homiletics only. That being said, in one of my classes we also read a daily Proverb and pay attention to some facet of speech (whether it be what we say, or what we hear, or what we conceive in our hearts to say). I have also sometimes used examples from the Bible for essays and speeches. For example, I've used the story of David taking the showbread as a prompt for a forensic essay where students have to defend or attack David using one of the concepts from Hermogenes' On Issues. There are a lot of good resources on Biblical rhetoric, but I do hesitate to apply too much of the classical rhetorical system to the Bible. Unless students understand that it represents a partial perspective of the text, and even one that could potentially detract from the point of the passage, then there is a danger of missing the structural elements there that aren't made manifest by categorizing them as logos, ethos, or pathos (for example). I'm much more comfortable with identifying rhetorical elements that operate more grammatically, like figures of speech or embedded structures like chiasms. Audience analysis makes good sense to identify as well.
  17. Paul Dixon

    Literature Catechism

    This is my first year to use a catechism in my classes, and I've written one for 10th grade Western Literature and 11th grade American Literature. I have my students read the full catechism aloud and together three days a week, and they are not required to memorize it, nor will they be tested on it. Now that we're through the first half of the year, I can honestly say this is the best decision I've made as a teacher. I first learned of using a catechism from Joshua Gibbs's Great Books course on Classical U, and at first I was skeptical. But, it's rewarding to begin a unit on Transcendentalism and when I ask the class to define the literary movement, they can recite a brief definition listing the main characteristics of Transcendentalism without skipping a beat. I must say, I'm a believer in this pedagogical tool. To those of you who use catechisms, how successful are they for you and your classes?
  18. Paul Dixon

    Teaching History - "Reading Like a Historian"

    I used this resource recently when discussing the Stamp Act. I found it very helpful to have several relevant documents compiled along with the lesson plan on guiding the students. I think it aligns with our goals as classical educators because it encourages students to contextualize the documents and the authors. I'm constantly pushing my students to adopt a historical perspective so they can empathize with people in the past. Any resource that helps with this goal is useful.
  19. Paul Dixon

    American Literature Texts

    We discussed the banning of the book at the beginning, but they didn't seem too concerned with it after that. I completely agree that he was displaying racism in the book as a means of denouncing it. Huck's struggles with recognizing Jim as a human being are especially powerful. It's a beautiful work, and I enjoyed teaching it.
  20. Paul Dixon

    Shakespeare Festival Tomorrow

    This is fantastic! Gruesome for sure, but so is the play, so I'd say it's appropriate!
  21. Paul Dixon

    Bible/Theology Curriculum

    My school has recently adopted a new approach to this question, and it consists of continuing their understanding of the Biblical story with some practice of interpretation thrown in along the way. We've shifted to teaching our students how to read the Bible as a sacred literary work, so they're learning to understand how figurative language is used in the Bible and why understanding that language is important to our interpretation. I'm not the theology teacher, but it seems to be going well with our Logic School students. From what I hear, this approach has encouraged discussion and contemplation on a level that is impressive for students of that age. As a literature teacher, I appreciate this approach because it well prepares them for interpreting the works we read for my class!
  22. When I was in college a friend of mine who was studying Great Books, in response to the frequent question, "Your major is Liberal Studies? What on earth does that mean?" liked to answer that she was working on degree in "critical thinking." I thought this was a good answer at the time, and I think I still do, but with the important caveat that we properly define what we mean by "critical thinking." I've come across a number of writers recently who have identified the type of critical thinking we do not want to be teaching our students. Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, the president of Wesleyan University wrote: At First Things, R.R. Reno gave a lecture on "Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking." Here's the description (which is easily copy-and-pasteable, unlike the lecture itself): I love the phrase "pedagogy of piety." Reno unpacks that idea here, where he presents Descartes as the problem and Newman as the solution (more or less): What are some ways we can teach our students to think critically (in a positive sense), without simply becoming cynical critics? How can we help them to discern error when they see it so they know what to reject, while also--perhaps more importantly--train them to actively seek the good, true, and beautiful, and to wholeheartedly love and embrace it when they find it?
  23. Patrick Halbrook

    Biblical Rhetoric

    How do you incorporate the Bible into your Rhetoric classes? (Assuming you do?) I try to do this in four ways: We read the book of Proverbs (a good thing to do regularly anyway) and compile lists of verses pertaining to the tongue and to the impact that our words have on each other. Students memorize key proverbs. We review the concepts of logos, pathos, and ethos by identifying these concepts in the teachings of Jesus. (Joe Carter and John Coleman's book How to Argue Like Jesus is a great guide to making these connections.) We read Paul's sermons in the book of Acts to see how he shapes his message to connect with diverse audiences. We read at least one of Paul's letters and identify principles of classical rhetoric in the way he arranges them. (Ben Witherington has written a series of commentaries analyzing books of the New Testament from the perspective of classical rhetoric; see also his book New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament). (For more detail, you can see an outline I put together for an ACCS workshop proposal here: http://carychristianschool.org/Biblical_Rhetoric.pdf) What are your thoughts on the benefits of these particular exercises, and what are your own ideas on how to incorporate the Bible into Rhetoric classes?
  24. Diana Cunningham

    Reading the classical educators

    Thanks to a friend who found this set at an estate sale, I've been reading through the first volume of 1930's author (sorry, still 20th century!) Werner Jaeger's Paideia: the Ideals of Greek Culture. I'm finding it fascinating. This is what Jaeger says he is attempting to do in these volumes: "explain the interaction between the historical process by which their [the Greeks'] character was formed and the intellectual process by which they constructed their ideal of human personality." Jaeger's focus is on the role of Greek literature.
  25. Wow! I love the alternative argument. I've always resisted the standard SAT/ACT argument because of the presuppositions, but never thought to create a positive statement which promoted actual classical benefits as well. Thank you!
  26. I found The Liberal Arts Tradition very enlightening, and our staff reads it as well. However, the first book we require our teachers to read, and one I cannot recommend highly enough, is Consider This, by Karen Glass (and I have read this book over six times, with new insight each time!). As one reads it, the "why" behind classical education becomes clear, which will illuminate the "how". Unfortunately, without the "why" as the foundation, any method will fall short.
  27. Hello, I was wondering if it would be possible to change the privacy settings for the School Center portion of the forum to make the posts only accessible by ClassicalU Forum members. When I google my name and school, my posts on the forum show up in the Google results. I wouldn't normally mind this, but since my school is involved I feel a little uneasy about posting questions and responses. I tried changing my profile name, but it doesn't appear that the system allows this. If there is a way to change my name to something less specific, please let me know, and I will do it! (I was able to change my school's name to its initials.)
  28. My personal feeling is that you would be best served by reading The Liberal Arts Tradition six more times. 🙂 I read and blogged through it earlier this year, and I'll probably read through it again soon...and I did understand (most) of it. It's really that good. I actually think it's really easy to want to jump to the "how to" of things, but the "why to" is really going to get you what you want sooner. Educational practices can take more than one form to accomplish the same end, just as there is more than one route you can take, usually, to reach a given destination. Knowing exactly where you want to go is more important than having a set of instructions to follow. A clear vision of what the liberal arts is, or what a Christian classical education is, will help you achieve it, or approach it, better than any version of practices. If you teach younger children (not sure I'm remembering correctly), you could focus on the piety, music, and gymnastic chapters and just read those six times. :-). There is a paragraph on page 28 really speaks to me: And then, in the next paragraph, he says, that a musical education considers all these subjects "from the perspective of forming the heart, the sense of wonder, and the affections." To me, that's another way of saying what Charlotte Mason says--"Education is the science of relations." If you invest some time in thinking about how to encourage your students to form relationships, and develop awe and wonder, any trial-and-error methods you use will probably give you better results than following a prescribed plan, because there aren't many pedagogies out there that are based on these objectives. But Charlotte Mason's are, so you could also try those.
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