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Given that classical education comprises a long, deep and wide tradition, how can we best summarize it in a brief conversation to an inquiring, interested person? Put another way, what is your best elevator speech for classical education?

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I have borrowed Andrew Kern's definition: "Classical Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts, so that the student can better know, understand and enjoy God". 

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On 6/1/2018 at 10:47 AM, Katharine Kotecki said:

I have borrowed Andrew Kern's definition: "Classical Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on truth, goodness, and beauty by means of the seven liberal arts, so that the student can better know, understand and enjoy God". 

I love this! In the past I have tended to focus on heritage and method. Still going through the lectures and reading. I also enjoy an article by Joseph Pearce in June of 2018 that talked about the Great Conversation. I think that is what many of us mean by Great Books and Classical Education. Thank you Katherine K. !!!

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My attempt at a definition: Classical education is the promoting of a lifetime love of learning using the ancient trivium and medieval quadrivium, focusing on texts of enduring excellence and the traditions of liberal learning. 

(Of course, speaking of the trivium & quadrivium in an  elevator might get some interesting reactions....)

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Classical education I would like to use the analogy of a blank canvas in my pursuit for what is true . As I sojourn along this path I am acquiring the knowledge and so I am deciding on the type(s) of mediums I should use. I am gaining understanding I am now considering my subject I am making sketches considering colours in which to use. At some point I will gain the wisdom and then I will be ready to apply onto my canvass. A work of art that can be admired and I hope will be enduring. 

Or like a plot of land I am seeking to decide what build or create. I have the materials to work with history, tradition and the liberal arts etc.,. I will be able to design a blue print for a building or a landscape. Something with a strong foundation or something that is organic. 

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My elevator speech includes: Christian worldview (cite Nehemiah Institute statistics), developmental instructional approach (Trivium), mastery-based,  addressing all learning styles with songs/chants/rhymes/movement (youngsters march, more mature students stand to answer), and parental control through a correct (biblical) understanding of in loco parentis. I am answering this question based on a secular or non-classically trained Christian audience and so I use more secular educational terms to describe our distinctives. I also usually get only 2 to 3 minutes in an elevator and entering/exiting time. If folks are interested, I follow up with Dr. Perrin's pamphlet for parents and/or the Discover pamphlet put out by the Ambrose Group. Also, I give out my card with the Classical Christian Education International, Inc. web site www.2cei.org for more information.

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On 11/22/2017 at 12:14 PM, Chris Perrin said:

Given that classical education comprises a long, deep and wide tradition, how can we best summarize it in a brief conversation to an inquiring, interested person? Put another way, what is your best elevator speech for classical education?

I would say for a start (Since I'm also new in this) that it is not modern or progressive. It is not pluralist, relativist and it is not secular, (being Christian, of course). Is cherishes tradition, and also and specially the Scriptures. I'm really interested how the Greeks (the philosophers) and the Israelites (the authors of Scripture) will interrelate. How will Paul talk with Socrates and until what point..and where and when do we (if we're Christian we have to do it) give the first the prominence.

Edited by Romeo Netto

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I wonder what it would be like to try and conduct a fellow traveler (on the elevator, of course) in a dialectical exchange to help them arrive at a definition of classical education through their own answers? Has anyone here ever tried?

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I like what Joshua Gibbs says in his Great Books course: Classical Education is submitting to all the best mankind has had to offer. Something like that. I would tag onto that, that not only are there works of writing, painting, music, poetry, etc... but there is a way to approach the learning and appreciating of those things, knowing what is true, good, and beautiful and learning how to love them. These are the seven liberal arts that enable us to perceive what is true, good, and beautiful and teach us how to love what we ought. As Christians we have lost the value of tradition. We engage in the "new and the novel" at church and in education. But there is nothing new under the sun as far as how to learn what is true, good, and beautiful and what we ought to love. Christian Classical Education addresses these issues. 

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My elevator speech would start with a short overview of the trivium and how it meets the unique abilities of the student at each level while using great books to influence the affections for what is true, good, and beautiful. Then I would quickly explain (hopefully we are going up more than two floors) the focus that classical education puts on wisdom and virtue by quoting Andrew Kern's definition. Now I just have to memorize it ☺️. This session equipped me to process and write my own consicse 2 min. version of classical education. Thanks! 

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Posted (edited)

What if education doesn't really look anything like we think it does? What if we cut away all the baggage that educational practices have accumulated, blew off all the cobwebs, and dust out every corner so light could shine on what was left. What is education, really, if it has nothing to do with tests and schools and assessments and parameters? You have a mind, and you have knowledge--what is their relationship to each other, and how that can relationship best be developed? What should the outcome look like?

You can tell I think questions might be better than answers in an elevator ride, because classical education is way too much to condense or convey that briefly. But if it begins in wonder, I want my listener to start wondering. :)

Edited by KarenG
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On 10/27/2018 at 7:42 AM, JTB_5 said:

I wonder what it would be like to try and conduct a fellow traveler (on the elevator, of course) in a dialectical exchange to help them arrive at a definition of classical education through their own answers? Has anyone here ever tried?

I agree with you and Karen. Over the years I've gone from defensive to answering with questions when people ask why we homeschool. Classical education is such a huge idea, that unpacking it in an elevator is tough - especially to make it palatable. It makes me think of the difference between eating spinach or mustard greens raw. One you can put in a salad and be fine with, but the other, must be cooked slowly with flavorful "explanations". I have discovered over time that most people don't really want to know why I homeschool, or about homeschooling - or about Christianity for that matter! But the few who do, come hungry for a deep conversation, for the mustard greens fully cooked and seasoned. Those are fewer and far between, but more blessed and effective. 🤷‍♀️

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