Real Learning vs. Classical Cliches: Debunking the Myths (Part 1)

Parents Nathan Siemers - Attribution - ShareAlike 2.0 Generic CC - 5970089724_674349ede7_b_0want to give their children the best education they can and there are two extremes often applied regarding what this means. On the creative, experiential end of the spectrum are parents who focus exclusively on enriching and inspiring their children; on the other end are those who believe that learning must be strictly formulaic. Which is correct?

[Nathan Siemers – Attribution – ShareAlike 2.0 Generic CC
– 5970089724_674349ede7_b_0The answer is neither.]

Students need to be constantly inspired and challenged to investigate the world for themselves, or at best, they will learn to hate school while simply “storing up” information. On the other hand, if children are not given the framework on which to “hang” knowledge, they are not learning at all, but are simply wallowing in a well of self-deception and narcissism.

  • A classical education is not about learning ancient terminology: it’s about learning to think for yourself, as the classical authors did.
  • A classical education is not about learning certain facts: it’s about developing a worldview which honors truth and beauty and engenders a love of knowledge.
  • A classical education is not about competing in the marketplace: it’s about believing that if students are passionate about learning they will be passionate about life and therefore, their vocations will become self-evident.classical columns
  • A classical education is not about believing in “experts” who claim to have grabbed the brass ring, and all you need to do is jump on their merry-go-round and — Voila! your student will be classically educated. Rather, it’s about developing a disciplined, virtuous mind and life. A person’s true vocation and joy in life will be evident if he or she follows this authentic classical path.

True classical scholarship is rare: most of us will never attain it, and that includes the many poseurs in the classical market who purport to have it and attempt to sell it to us. But given a genuine classical philosophy and pedagogy, all students can discover their God-given potential, find their place in the world, and live rich, joyous and successful lives.

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Next Time~ Part 2
Curriculum Gimmicks vs. The Great Knock:
Formulas vs. Structure and How C. S. Lewis Answers the Dilemma

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