I find myself thinking that criticism, when it is justified at all, still arises from impatience. Or mabye it is better to say that a critical spirit, justified or not, arises from impatience.
We are critical when we assume the position of the judge.
The best American schools have yet to remember why western civilization introduced “school” as the foundation of that civilization. Mostly, that is because the more we talk about school, the less we do it.
If knowledge sets you free, then the teacher is a servant. If knowledge is power, then the teacher is master.
When a pompous lord slips on a banana peel it is comedy. When he looks you in the eye and says, "Dammit, help me up," the spell is broken. Mercy departs. Comedy scoffs and leaves.
I spent last Friday and Saturday in the hospital and that has turned this week into a long bout of catching up and getting myself back in rhythm. It probably wasn't a big deal, so we haven't made much of it here at CiRCE, but I do feel I owe an explanation and that I should prevent this from growing into more than it was. So here's the story.
The heart of the difference between classical and conventional education is not in curriculum or teaching methods, though those are effected. The heart of the issue is in goals and beliefs. Our practices often entangle us so much that we can't get back to the things that matter most.
The biggest difference is theological. Conventional education is ultimately nihilistic, believing that we live in a great meaningless vacuum. Classical education, Christian or philosophical, rests on the foundation of Being. Everything, quite literally follows from this.
In the comments section for this week's post on teaching reading I was asked how I would teach reading to children who are still learning to sound words out. I figured I would share my response here since this is a question we get fairly frequently. This is what I said . . .
I would do a few things:
I was watching a bit of Brannagh’s Hamlet tonight and luxuriating in the language (some of which I understood) when my dear wife asked me for my opinion: “Do you think the groundlings actually understood what was going on in those plays?”
I said I thought they did (but that's probably a subject for another blog post).
Then she asked for another opinion: Why do you think people today can’t understand it?
I must warn you, I’m about to say something that will sound caustic. You probably want to cover your children’s ears while you read this.