Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Classical Education?

In the Washington Post, Embracing a Classical Education.


  1. PsychMom says:

    Okaaaaayyyyyy......I wonder how they handle technology in that school.

    I still think the structure of this kind of schooling is doing a disservice to children who will be entering a less purified world when they graduate from high school.
    You cannot tell someone what's important to know for 12 years and then expect them to know anything else at the end of it.

  2. I ran this quote by my sainted husband, who's a linguist by profession:

    Central to St. Jerome’s revised curriculum is Latin. “It’s a language based on a lot of logic, and it builds the skill of using logic,” says Latin teacher Elizabeth Turcan. “You don’t have that as much with more common modern languages.’’

    He responded with a word that I won't offend my delicate readers with. Let's just say that Latin is no more logical than any other natural language. It does mark cases up the wazoo, however, so you can learn concepts like "subject" and "object".

  3. PsychMom adds:

    I've studied Latin...there are irregular words just like in any other language I've studied.

    What galls me is that they want to "structure" very little children who should be encouraged to remain "untamed" at least in terms of their imaginations, for as long as possible. Logic is not all it's cracked up to be, and certainly doesn't need to be fostered in 5 year olds.

    I watched two hours of Canadian politicians debating last night...now there we could have used some "logic".

  4. PsychMom, in some ways I'm sympathetic to this school. I share the bafflement of many parents, watching my kids go through school, and wondering what the heck they're learning. At least in this system you can see the kids are learning stuff.

    Now, is the stuff they're learning useful? There I'm not so sure. I know very little about ancient Rome, and I don't think it's held me back. I can't tell you anything Petrarch said, but so what?

    I notice they're careful to include Black leaders like MLK and DuBois (fair enough), but how about women?

    How about India and China, which will likely be the superpowers of our childrens' generation?

  5. PsychMom adds:

    Your posting today says it all for me FedUpMom....My daughter's school runs on a theme basis. In kindergarten 5 years ago, the theme was the world of work. This year that same theme has come around again...Fair enough. But why, in a school that claims that teachers take the lead from the kids, are the kindergartners doing the exact same units that my child did 5 years ago. Are those kids interested in exactly the same things the class was interested in 5 years ago? What an amazing coincidence!

    Why is the repetoire so limited? For the older kids...why is doing a Shakespeare play every year so earth shatteringly necessary? Has or does Shakespeare inform any part of my day to day life?.....no. It's hard to read and the themes can be brought to light in so many other ways...

    Seth Godin, whom I read everyday, wrote in his book, "Linchpin", that schools need to only do two things: Teach kids how to lead, and learn to solve interesting problems.

    As near as I can tell, schools today are big on teaching kids how to follow, and how to get through boring stuff as quickly as possible. I will never forget the person who posted elsewhere that it was very important to force kids things to do things that don't make sense. That has stuck with me for months now.

    What's the opposite of rose-coloured glasses?Because that statement has made me look at school issues through those spectacles ever since.

  6. PsychMom corrects herself:
    "it was very important to force kids to learn things that don't make sense"

  7. PsychMom, yep, that one's a doozie. It's on the deathless "I Hate Reading Logs" post, comment #753.

    WOW says:

    As a teacher of academically gifted students I know that some of the assignments my girls get at school are not 100% suited to them – but I never say anything in front of them because teaching them to do things that don’t always make sense is important.