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A trifecta on classical education

February 18, 2008, 2:19 pm

Gene Veith, one of my favorite religious writers and the proprietor of the terrific Cranach blog (and provost at Patrick Henry College), has three quick posts today on classical education. He touches briefly on teaching content rather than process, and how classical education teaches bothl; on critical thinking; and on learning styles and the teaching of “meaning”. Some clips: 

The key factor in learning is grasping meaning, a concept that evades any of these sensory approaches. (While cultivation of meaning is what classical education is all about.)

and:

More substantive scholars say that being able to think critically requires (again, see below) CONTENT. You have to think ABOUT SOMETHING. Whereas much of the critical thinking curriculum is all process, trying to provoke content-free thinking. (The classical solution: DIALECTIC, featuring questions AND answers, as in that great model of classical education, the catechism, which, properly used, helps the student answer the question, “what does this mean?”)

I am pretty sure that Prof. Veith has this overall definition of “classical education” in mind, but I am not sure exactly how he defines it. And I wonder if all of what he says still works if you replace “classical” with the more generic “liberal arts”.

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