Andrew Kern Sep 17, 2007
Modern thought resides in the realm of fantasy, perhaps nowhere moreso than on the question of authority. The Middle Ages are mocked for their constant appeal to authority, an appeal that Francis Bacon is supposed to have freed the human race from with his Novum Organon, an appeal to use the nascent scientific method of induction as the only source of truth. But on what basis do we mock the Medieval thinkers for their submission to authority? Somebody told us!
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Andrew Kern Sep 13, 2007
We'll be sending out a CiRCE Paper (our E-magazine) tomorrow with an article about how to teach The Iliad when you haven't read it. As with any hopefully useful article, not everything I wrote made it. So here are some deletions (by the way, if you don't receive The CiRCE Papers and would like to, click here and you can sign up for free and you'll receive our free E-book too):
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Andrew Kern Sep 13, 2007
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?" To which I answered yes, but the reasons are probably another blog post. Then she asked for another opionion. 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.
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Andrew Kern Sep 12, 2007
Andrew Campbell wrote a wonderful book called The Latin-Centered Curriculum that describes a classical education that strives for simplicity and focus. On his web site he lists 10 foundational principles of classical education that I find compelling and sound. To spend a few months reflecting on them, asking, "What does this imply for the way I teach?" would be a profitable exercise for any teacher who wants her teaching to transform and not just to inform.
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Andrew Kern Sep 11, 2007
After today's earlier post I was browsing the web for some more Grimm news, when I came across this site. This is what happens when professionals get involved in teaching literature to children. Truly, I think the temptation is irreistable. Please don't teach this way. Maybe, if you have to feel grown up while you teach, do it in fourth grade. But why you'd want to I'm not sure.
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Andrew Kern Sep 10, 2007
I am continually amazed at the power of fairy tales to enliven a boy's childhood. Fairy tales might be the place where the folly and harm of impersonal knowledge is most easily seen. Here' Bruno Bettelheim in his magnificent book The Uses of Enchantment:
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Andrew Kern Sep 8, 2007
As I have blogged twice about Harry Potter, both with qualifications for Rowling's greatness, I think I should add something that has struck me recently and which I consider one of her great powers: the ability to engage sympathetically with the inner workings of the human mind.
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Andrew Kern Sep 8, 2007
Here's a good little article from Kathy Ireland (the Christian Martha Stewart) with some appealing ideas for preparing lunch for your child (or for your child to prepare for himself) during school.
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Andrew Kern Sep 7, 2007
Of course, a lot of people would ask, "Why to teach Harry Potter?" and they're right to ask. The reason is because kids are reading it. That doesn't mean you should make kids read it who otherwise wouldn't (it isn't THAT good), but for those who are, it would make for good discussion. There are two big issues with Harry Potter: One, whether it expresses a sound "worldview" and two, whether it is well-written.
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Andrew Kern Sep 7, 2007
Charlotte Mason spoke of Living Ideas. James Taylor developed the ideas of John Senior and others under the concept of Poetic Knowledge. Michael Polanyi wrote an important book called Personal Knowledge. Christian de Quincey pushed a lot farther with his book Radical Knowing, looking to eastern mysticism for his foundations.
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