Will Mortimore Aug 4, 2022

Why start an independent Christian School? A meditation on three sources of motivation.   

Like the two poles of a magnet, the dystopian and utopian forces repel and attract with equal strength. In starting an independent Christian school it is possible to be motivated by one or both of these drives. These may serve as a spark that lights the flame, but they cannot function as its fuel. The only entity that can sustain and grow a healthy Christian school is, as I will argue here, Christ Himself.  

The Dystopian Drive 

Joshua Gibbs Aug 3, 2022

How to improve your faculty development program:

Step one: Scrap your faculty development program. No one likes your faculty development program. Work on departmental culture instead.

Step two: Culture emerges around food and drink and singing and dancing. Culture does not emerge around conversation. Judges have conversations with criminals. They do not dance with them. If your faculty does not eat and drink and sing and dance together, you do not have a faculty culture. You have some atheistic forgery of culture.

Joshua Gibbs Aug 1, 2022

Gibbs: Your son recently asked me to write him a letter of recommendation to a big state school.

Parent: Yes, Allister is very excited at his chances of getting in. A strong letter of recommendation from you will really help with that.

Gibbs: Is there a reason you didn’t choose a smaller Christian college?

Parent: Well, his mother and I want the best for him, and he wants to study business. A big state school has far more to offer on that front than a smaller Christian college.

Matthew Carpenter Jul 28, 2022

Most humanities teachers have some degree of romanticism. It’s hard to teach without it. But sometimes the stories and people we teach seem like faint echoes that bear little relevance to us.  

Before proceeding further, I must confess: I am a proud romantic. St. George is my hero, Beowulf is the grandest epic, Susan Pevensie is still alive (do the math), and King Arthur will return one day. 

Daniel Maycock Jul 28, 2022

What does it mean to teach math classically? If you try to find the answer online, you encounter various educators suggesting that answer lies in a particular methodology—essentially some form of Socratic teaching. On the surface, this seems like a decent way to make math instruction “classical”, but, as I’ll explain, it’s inadequate and ignores the history of classical pedagogy. 

Joshua Gibbs Jul 21, 2022

No one really knows which new works of art will last, but if I had to guess, I would wager that Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Eugene Vodolazkin’s Laurus (2012) will be in print a hundred years from now and receive “the scholarly treatment.” By this, I mean these books will not only be in print but be studied in universities and written about by historians. These novels are dense, sophisticated, and can sustain tough, close reads and many rival interpretations.

Jessica Meek Jul 20, 2022

When I actually teach this, I feel like a success. The problem is that society does everything in its power to distract both educators and students from really learning to read.  

We spend a lot of time in class, reading. That’s it, reading. And if reading were just plot lines or bullet points, we’d be wasting a lot of time, just reading.  

So, what does it mean to read well? What must we do to ensure that we’re not just wasting time reading? 

Joshua Gibbs Jul 15, 2022

I am at the CiRCE national conference at the moment and have heard a good on the matter of worlds over the last two days. What follows is nothing more than a brief catalogue of ways in which worlds are spoken of. 

“This world”: The word as existential reality; everything this side of the Resurrection and return of Christ; icon of ephemerality.

“The world”: That thing which is contrary to God and attempts to exclude God; “I have overcome the world”

“The real world”: A particular plane of reality; see also “the adult world” or “the teenage world”

Joshua Gibbs Jul 5, 2022

For years, when teaching medieval history, I created imaginary scenarios and hypothetical situations for my students to help them understand what it felt like for the common man to merely "stand on the ground" in the year 325 AD. These imaginary scenarios coalesced into "Blasphemers," a short story I wrote for my students so they could better understand the legalization of Christianity, the ancient Christian sense of piety, and the thin veil that separated earth and heaven in the medieval mind (but also in my mind).

Joshua Gibbs Jun 28, 2022

A few years ago I wrote an article arguing that fidget spinners had no place in the classroom. It was a popular article, but the cost of writing a popular article is a few strongly negative responses. One blogger insisted that my hatred of fidget spinners was an attack on students with learning disabilities because—at the time—it was believed that giving distracting toys to such students would help them pay attention.