Davies Owens Q ideas talk April 10-12 2012

7th September, 2012 - Posted by Christine Perrin - No Comments

I really liked this and especially like the visuals (please see the book “Information is Beautiful” for more ideas about educating visually). Having raised my own children in a classical school and having taught there and other places (Messiah college, Gordon College, Johns Hopkins and various k-12 schools) I have seen a bit of this.

Owens did a good job naming and critiquing the elements of progressive but he didn’t go into such depth for the classical model.

I think that in addition to the younger students experience of rhyme/song/chant of facts, it would be worth noting that classical education believes that learning to read carefully and well–by taking notes, figuring out the core content of another person’s argument, having enlightened discussion on that argument, being able to write and give speeches–to synthesize–after absorbing the best ideas from the best minds and networking some of those ideas to each other in order to come to a considered opinion–is central to the endeavor.

Most writers that I know started their ‘life’ when they got their library card. I like the fact that Owens linked Ben Carson’s development to the library. It’s so SIMPLE, not easy, but simple–read, figure out what people are saying, take notes, decide what you think, write, speak, converse, repeat. That’s classical education–what people have been doing for a long time–it takes a great deal of time but it possible if one has time. Another thing that threatens this project however is the ability to pay attention and to imagine. These are two qualities of mind that threaten to atrophy unless we protect them. I would add that to the list of prerequisites for this sort of reading.

As you get older, you realize that if you learned anything in school it was just these sort of abilities and then later if you are privileged you learn which writers/thinkers you would like to invest your life in absorbing their thought. I think we go to college to find our thinkers and to find people to talk about them with and then to derive a method (too strong a word) from.

I’m 44 and I think I know my people now–but it has taken a long time, much longer than it took my children. I feel sorry for that lost time, but I’m just glad I got in to the way of thinking at all.

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