February 18, 2008

Common cultural patrimony of both Christians and non-Christians

Distinctive qualities of classical eduation from The Daily Goose by Matthew

From Andrew Campbell’s website:

  1. Classical education treats classical languages and mathematics as the organizing principles of education. These subjects can only be mastered by orderly, systematic study over a period of many years. They provide the best training for “learning how to learn” and the most solid foundation for further study in literature, history, and science.
  2. Classical education recognizes that memory, analysis, and expression are important facets of learning at all levels. It therefore treats the medieval Trivium subjects - Latin grammar, logic, and rhetoric - as disciplines in their own right. It suggests that to place undo emphasis on “ages and stages” can lead to rigidity in the curriculum and an unnatural emphasis on technique in teaching.
  3. Classical education is holistic: it trains not only the mind, but also the emotions, the will, and the aesthetic sense. It fosters love for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful wherever they may be found. Its goal is to produce men and women both knowledgeable and virtuous: good persons speaking well.
  4. Classical education is traditional and conservative in the sense that it seeks to hand on to each new generation “the best that has been thought and said in the world.” It stands for the Permanent Things. It mitigates against chronological snobbery by setting our current concerns against the backdrop of history and requiring us to take long views. It lays upon us the responsibility of doing our part to preserve and transmit the accumulated wisdom of the race.
  5. Classical education rests on the principle of multum non multa: quality, not quantity. It does not let the good crowd out the best. Rather than rushing students from book to book, from author to author, classical education invites students to contemplate the representative masterpieces of each historical period. It gives entree into the Great Conversation by allowing students to speak at length with the master teachers of the last three millennia.
  6. Classical education unites the great spiritual and intellectual streams of the West, rising from Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. As such, it represents the common cultural patrimony of both Christians and non-Christians.

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