Beethooven’s Fifth, sort of

Don’t watch this if you are a musical purist, but I think this could actually be used to help kids understand classical music – or at least Beethooven. It’s hilarious, with apologies to John Hodges.

It’s not Time to Quit

I wasn’t going to add something so quickly but in reviewing a post, I ran across this one and had to add it here:

The lesson is this: Don’t tell me the future. I’ve learned, unquestionably, that resilience—not prophecy—is the greatest gift.

That’s from Leading Blog, cut from a speech by Ralph W. Shrader of Booz, Allen, Hamilton. I’ve come to agree with this over the years, even though I’m a hyper anxious seeker of omens. The one thing that separates every successful person or institution from all the rest is resilience, adaptability, perseverence. I’ve never known the future, but I’ve always found it arrives the next day. But you just can’t quit.

So don’t.

How to Teach Students how to Think

David Hicks on Socratic thinking:

By making his students conscious of their dialectical thinking processes, Socrates hoped to assign them parts in a dramatic dialogue that otherwise occurs unconsciously and haphazardly in the thinking mind. Once the conversation between Socrates and his students deliberately took on the dialectical form of mental activity, learning became possible. Man could now visualize and oversee his own mind at work.

From Norms and Nobility, page 67.

The point is, people are always thinking. There is nothing new to learn. But they need to be consious of how to think so they can do it better. It’s like when a runner joins the track team. He won’t be learning anything new; he’ll just be learning how to do what he already knows more consciously and, thus, better.

Does Christian Education Have a Place in American Culture?

Maybe that question isn’t as easy as it sounds at first. How much of what we do in our Christian schools arises from the pressures of our culture and how much of it arises from the gospel? We can never stop thinking about that.

So here’s a link to an article at The Educated Imagination that stimulated the question in my own mind: Communitarian Learning.

Treating Symptoms

I have had chronic back pain for several years now. It has finally become intolerable the point of my having a medical procedure done yesterday. During the process of explaining the procedure, the doctor grabbed my attention my asserting a phrase that is rarely heard in the medical profession these days. He said that the thing that excited him about the procedure was that it would “get us closer to identifying the root causes of the pain instead of just continually treating the symptoms”. That was a refreshing oasis in a desert of medical practitioners content with only treating effects rather than root causes.

One of the things that excites me about classical education is the focus on the question of “why” rather than just the “what”. As a consultant in classical education, one of the foremost challenges is to ask the right questions that get to the root of school’s problems versus only manipulating symptoms. These are the factors that led me to join CiRCE as a consultant. The institute’s emphasis on researching the best practices in education and why they are the best practices is far more satisfying to me (and sustainable for schools) than the emphases being on whatever solves a problem for now. The healthiest schools? The ones that have a solid and consistent link between the why they exist and what they do in the classrooms and hallways day-to-day.