Around thirty years ago, a movement began to restore classical education in American elementary schools and high schools. The first stage of the restoration of classical education was the recovery of classical texts. Around fifteen years ago, the second stage undertook the recovery of classical pedagogy. Today, I believe a third stage is underway. We have begun the recovery of classical assessment, grading, and class management.
A poem by Joshua Gibbs
Betrayal revealed terminal illness soberly
diagnosed infidelities illuminated
accidentally pious superstitions doubted
for a lifetime then confirmed
suddenly in blood
on the doorstep
such horrors never fail to draw
this lament from our lips:
I should have known
But this is not the judgment
of the soul
for the soul responds:
but you did know
As a literature teacher, parents often tell me, "I want my son to become a better writer over the course of the year." While it is not inappropriate to tell the literature teacher this, a literature class is not a writing class. It is the responsibility of every teacher of every subject (from rhetoric to English to biology) to discipline students in the art of writing.
I recently went to the grocery store and parked beside a car which was more full of garbage than any other car I have ever seen. Fast food bags, busted electronic gear, appliances, wadded up clothes, and empty bottles filled the passenger’s seat and the back seat nearly to the roof. Walking behind the car, the bumper was plastered with half a dozen stickers declaring sympathy for a predictably grouped set of political and social causes. For my present purposes, whether or not these political causes veered Right or Left does not much matter.
Parent: I was wondering what adjustments you were planning on making to your classroom in light of that recently published study on olfactory learning?
Gibbs: Recently published study on what now?
Parent: Olfactory learning. Smell-based learning. We’ve known for years how deeply the sense of smell is linked to memory. It turns out that students remember far more when teachers integrate smell into their lessons.
Gibbs: Could you give me an example of ways teachers are integrating smell into lessons?
If I were not a Christian, Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books would be my holy scripture. When I meet a sane adult, I assume his sanity comes largely from having heard Frog and Toad stories in his youth. Yesterday, I read my sophomore humanities students four stories from a Frog and Toad anthology. It would be impolite to assume you, noble reader, are not intimately familiar with all the Frog and Toad stories, but, in case too many years have elapsed between today and your last reading, I will briefly describe the four stories I read to my sophomores:
The four senses by which Scripture can be interpreted correspond to Aristotle’s four causes. The literal sense corresponds with the material cause, the moral sense with the efficient cause, the eschatological sense with the final cause, and the allegorical sense with the formal cause. When Modern scientists rejected formal and final causes, they only did so because theologians had rejected the eschatological and allegorical senses of Scripture. Modern science comes from Modern theology.
People who want to find themselves, people who want to lose themselves, and people who want to be themselves often all end up in the same places, doing the same things. The self thus seems little more than a nullifying force of needless confusion and misdirection, for no one knows whether the self is coming, going, or staying put.
The story of Judas is the story of a man who thought he was going to get away with everything. In fact, everything about Judas’s Holy Week interactions with the chief priests, Christ, and the apostles suggest that Judas intended on returning to his life with the apostles after Christ was arrested.
Who killed Jesus Christ?