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Classical Education Is Taking Off. What’s the Appeal?

May 16, 2024

Classical Education Is Taking Off. What’s the Appeal? by Rick Hess at EducationWeek. Classical education has seen remarkable growth in recent years. Since the pandemic, hundreds of new classical schools have opened. Across the nation, it’s estimated that there are around 1,000 classical schools in operation today. These schools have tapped into a population of families attracted to their “back to the future” emphasis on the great books, traditional virtues, and the foundations of Western civilization. But it’s not always clear what this translates to in terms of pedagogy or practice. What’s driving the appeal? What’s happening in these classrooms? And where does this model fit in the educational landscape? To answer these questions, I reached out to Rob Jackson, the founder of Classical Commons, a web-based social network designed to further the advancement of classical schools. Here’s what he had to say. Read


Why Should Every High-Schooler Read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics? by Joseph R. Wood at Cana Academy. What do you want to be? Every student has heard that question from someone wondering what profession or job he’d like to have when he finishes his education. Maybe he’d like to be an engineer, or a professional athlete, or a farmer or rancher, or a writer, or a teacher, or a plumber, or an actor, or any of the thousands of possible fields people enter. But, there’s a more basic way of thinking about the question of what we want to be, and there are many books that claim to help us answer that question. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics was one of the first and best. Read 


The Common Arts in the Classroom by Mark Bauerlein at First Things. The latest installment of an ongoing interview series with contributing editor Mark Bauerlein. Christopher Hall joins the podcast to discuss his organization Always Learning Education and his book Common Arts Education: Renewing the Classical Tradition of Training the Hands, Head, and Heart. Listen 


Why Writing by Hand Beats Typing for Thinking and Learning by Jonathan Lambert at NPR. In kids, studies show that tracing out ABCs, as opposed to typing them, leads to better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters. Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, laying down the foundations of literacy and learning. In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual understanding of material. "There's actually some very important things going on during the embodied experience of writing by hand," says Ramesh Balasubramaniam, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Merced. "It has important cognitive benefits." Read


Newman Guide School Embraces Students with Special Needs by Kelly Salomon at The Cardinal Newman Society. A faithful Newman Guide Recommended school in Tyler, Tex., is inviting parents and educators to learn about its approach to educating students with complex communication needs, part of the school’s commitment to serving a wider variety of children and families. “Be it known that Jesus Christ is the reason for our school!” said Principal John Kimec of Bishop T.K. Gorman Catholic School. Read


Court Backs Catholic School Sued by Teacher in Same-Sex Union Who Was Denied Rehire by Tyler Arnold at The Catholic World Report. A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit from an aggrieved substitute teacher who was not rehired by a Catholic school after it was revealed he had entered into a same-sex union, violating the school’s moral code. The ruling affirmed that religious schools can hold employees to the moral teachings of the Church. “Religious groups have the freedom to choose who carries out their religious mission,” Luke Goodrich, a vice president and senior counsel at Becket Law. Read


First Catholic College in South Carolina to Open in Fall 2024 by Kate Quiñones at Catholic News Agency. Author and Anglican convert Father Dwight Longenecker along with a number of Catholic scholars are launching the first Catholic college in South Carolina, a two-year liberal arts college set to open this fall. Rosary College will offer an associate of Catholic studies in integrated humanities degree, which can be transferred to a number of other universities. The college offers “an affordable, transferable credit for students who are either going on to a four-year Catholic college or those who are going into the workforce and/or trade school,” Longenecker explained. Read


How to Keep Your Catholic Faith While Studying Philosophy by Matt D’Antuono at National Catholic Register. So there I was beginning my studies in philosophy at a secular school. I had fallen in love with philosophy while auditing a couple of classes on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Plato and Aristotle taught in New York City by Peter Kreeft. I had read everything by Lewis, Chesterton, Plato and Aristotle that I could get my hands on, and now I was taking up my studies at a nearby university. In the process, I had also converted to Catholicism and lost my job teaching at a Protestant high school. What complicated my projected studies at the university was that none of my professors, as far as I could tell, were sympathetic to my Catholic Christianity. None of them offered classes on the philosophy of the Middle Ages, let alone that of St. Thomas Aquinas. Read


Justice Alito to Franciscan Graduates: ‘Go Out Boldly and Change the World’ by Grant Goral at Catholic News Agency. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito challenged graduates at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, on Saturday to embrace vital life lessons about courage and personal values that he said can be found in the U.S. Constitution. “The framers foresaw that troublous times would arise when rulers and people would become restive and the principles of constitutional liberty would be in peril unless established by irreparable law,” Alito said at the May 11 commencement. Read


Throwback Thursday


Virtue and Discipline in the Arts by Carol Reynolds at Memoria Press on July 26, 2021. Few people recognize engagement in the arts as an intrinsic element of spiritual virtue. To use the words of Pope John Paul II from his “Letter to Artists,” penned in 1999, [T]rue art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience. Read

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