When we talk about classical education, people often imagine Greek philosophers standing out in an agora sharing ideas. In truth, it’s not far off. A classical school is akin to a large museum with beautiful rooms in which we study wonders.
This style of education boasts a long-lasting tradition that emphasizes the betterment of the individual as they seek truth and goodness. Moreover, it places a focus on well-rounded development in intellect and articulation. From grammar and logic to music and arithmetic, students learn how to study and think.
What Is Classical Education?
Oftentimes, people believe this style of education to be incompatible with modern times. However, a classical education extends beyond memorization and pencil-on-paper study. This philosophy of this educational model has roots in the history and culture of Western civilization.
The model follows a classical approach that encourages thoughtful learning within a moral framework. Additionally, it includes classical content with extensive cultural value.
Today, this style of education offers students a map with which they learn and grow. In the beginning, students explore and celebrate humanity, learning the history and culture of the West. From there, they develop critical thinking skills as they engage in dialogue.
When students emerge from a classical education, they understand the moral imperative to others. Moreover, they have the ability to foster change and opportunity in the face of adversity.
Wisdom: Knowledge, Experience, and Good Judgment
As students explore the development of the world and the role that religion plays in it, they gain a better understanding of modern subjects and challenges. For instance, students learn to question, understand, and interpret information. As they begin to recognize themes and patterns, they develop a guide for their thinking.
Through this education, they develop strategic and analytical thinking skills. Whether they need to resolve a conflict or solicit help from others, they have a strong foundation. As students learn to consider the impact of their decisions, they gain a new perspective on the development of the world.
Additionally, a classical education encourages first-hand discovery, which allows for a better understanding of the world.
Virtue: Moral Framework for Education
At its core, ancient mythology passes on moral lessons in an engaging narrative format. From thinking before action to the difference between right and wrong, the classical education model teaches within a moral framework.
Classic lessons regarding civility maintain relevance around the world. From Plato to Euripides, ancient authors shared lessons with those who listened to their stories. In doing so, they helped to develop a stronger moral compass in those individuals.
Technology and Modern Classical Education
As parents consider a classical education for their children, they often wonder whether this model shies away from technology. While you might not see laptops and tablets in the classroom, it’s a myth that the educational model disconnects from the world.
Technology is a tool – a valuable one. It has its place as a supplement to lessons. However, it is important to instill critical thinking in students before they have broad access to technology. Any tool in the classroom must be used strategically.
What Makes a Classical Education Effective?
Generally speaking, the approach implemented in this model is what makes it so effective. Children learn in three stages (grammar, logic, and rhetoric). In the early stages of education, we instill lessons through song and rhyme to help them remember the core aspects of the content.
As students grow, they begin to develop critical thinking skills in order to understand the logic behind lessons. This helps them understand reason and how to effectively wield their wisdom with eloquence.
In later stages of education, students hone these skills to become independent thinkers who understand thoughtful, concise communication. As they practice rhetoric, they learn persuasive speech and effective writing skills.
Rooted in the development stage, this educational model remains effective. Throughout history, this style of education produced countless leaders, philosophers, lawyers, artists, and scientists. While the classical education model never disappeared, it began to diminish with the growth of standardized testing. Over the last few decades, a movement began to restore this proven form of education. Today, hundreds of classical schools use this model across the United States. Moreover, tens of thousands of parents homeschool with this style of approach.
Of course, there are myths about this style of teaching and learning as well. As such, it is essential for parents to use their own critical thinking skills to decide whether a classical education is right for their children.