On the Learning

Admiring vs. Speculating

»Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Blog, Childhood Wonder, Mission-Type Stuff, On the Learning, Poetic Knowledge | Comments Off on Admiring vs. Speculating

One thing that today’s educators can take from 8th century monks (who were running schools and preserving Bibles in the darkest of times in the West) is knowing to admire where many would speculate. Too often learning is pursued mainly for curiosity, and no matter what we are studying, the intent is on speculation and forming questions. But if we want students to understand a good thing, then we must help them begin with a love and desire for it. It doesn’t begin with analysis and dissection, but rather, devotion. As a monastic scholar puts it, “admiration” and “speculation” are both words that “describe the act of looking. But the gaze of admiration adds something to the gaze of speculation. It does not necessarily see...

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As the Bugle Stirs an Army

»Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Blog, Childhood Wonder, On the Learning | Comments Off on As the Bugle Stirs an Army

As the Bugle Stirs an Army

Hear ye, educators: To the teacher of children in the schools of Bible learning, more than to any others, should come the warning to make his words clear as plate-glass, luminous as light itself, sharp as polished blades, painting truths as ‘apples of gold in pictures of silver,’ and stirring the depths of the mind as the bugle stirs an army. John Milton Gregory,...

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Education that Kills Creativity

»Posted by on Apr 14, 2012 in Childhood Wonder, On the Learning, Poetic Knowledge, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Education that Kills Creativity

“Our bodies are just a way of getting our heads to meetings.” This has been the predominant view of modern education, which, as Ken Robinson shows, educates from the neck up, and “slightly to one side.” The idea is for every student to become a university professor, rather than shaping whole persons according to what they are good at and love to do.  Though he does not address the true telos of education, watch this short lecture for a good laugh and some thoughtful insights: Schools Kill...

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Classroom Hobbits & Their Loyalties

»Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Blog, Literature, On the Learning | Comments Off on Classroom Hobbits & Their Loyalties

Classroom Hobbits & Their Loyalties

Children are like hobbits not only in stature, but also in how quietly they can sneak about (once a certain coordination is attained), and then finally in the peculiar things they seem to remember most. More similarities could be pointed out, but educators will do well to remember the last one especially. Children have a funny way of remembering what they will remember, and not what they are told to remember. No doubt they have incredible capability to memorize, but what really makes an impression on them is often not what the teacher would expect or intend. The unpredictability of it is much like Frodo and his hobbit companions in their first encounter with elves. Each of them remembers random particulars about this significant event. For one hobbit, it is the...

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Hunting Down the Core Disciplines

»Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 in Blog, On the Learning | Comments Off on Hunting Down the Core Disciplines

Without digging too deep yet into some perplexing stuff, here are a few thoughts on what might carry the most weight among the areas of learning during the younger years of study: Naming the animals was man’s work in the beginning, a work God chose not to designate for himself, and it required a fundamental attribute that God placed in man from the start.  This attribute is language.  It is a core element of our being because it is a core element of the Trinity himself as seen best in God the Son, or God the Word.  Language is what the medieval and classical trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric is about.  12th century Christian educator Hugh of St. Victor summed up these three as “linguistic logic,” with argumentative logic (dialectic and rhetoric) as a...

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