“[T]he supreme task of education [is] the cultivation of the human spirit: to teach the young to know what is good, to serve it above self, to reproduce it, and to recognize that in knowledge lies this responsibility.” (Norms, p. 13)

Norms & Nobility is considered by many to be one of the foundational texts in the classical education renewal. Educator and author David Hicks states the question shaping today’s education system is, “What can be done?” when it should instead be, “What ought to be done?” But what specifically does this mean and how can we effectively teach in light of this? Other such questions prompted by this book include: Does this impact the curriculum I use? If so, how? What “ideal type” should be our focus? Why do we even need an ideal type? This book helps us understand the difference between knowing and doing while also explaining why one cannot be taught without the other.

Our Focus – Dig into the Text

In this Atrium course, CiRCE Online Instructor, CiRCE Workshop Leader, and Certified Master Teacher, Tonya Rozelle will lead us through David Hicks’ seminal work on classical education. We will engage in a close read of Norms & Nobility and discuss what it means for us as classical educators. If you have not yet read this text, you should. If you have already read this text, you can attest to the fact one read is not enough. This profound work helps us better understand why pursuing a classical education is worth the effort, both for ourselves and for our students. It helps us identify and comprehend that ache in our souls, that burning need pushing us to do the hard work.

The Format – Understanding then Application

We will meet twice a month to discuss each chapter. The first time we meet on a specific chapter, we will focus on understanding what Hicks is saying to us. The second time will be geared toward the more practical aspects of the material, in other words, what it looks like in practice. While examining Norms, students will also further their understanding of classical pedagogy. Instructor Tonya Rozelle will lead each session modeling both mimetic and Socratic instruction in order to facilitate robust discussions on this rich material.

Intended Audience - You

Whether you are a teacher in a traditional school setting or a homeschooling parent, if you are trying to lead your students in a classical education, this course is for you. If you just love this text and are always looking for others eager to discuss its finer points, this course is for you. If you are completely new to classical education, and are not really sure what it all means, this course is for you. If you want to better understand how to develop a classical curriculum, this course is for you. If you wish to better understand the benefits of classical education for all levels of society, this course is for you.

Required Text - Norms & Nobility

To participate in this course, you will need a copy of Norms & Nobility by David V. Hicks. There is a preface written for the 1990 edition that is excellent and worthy of much marginalia in its own right. Since we will dedicate time to this preface, I strongly suggest you purchase a copy that includes it. Do not be put off by the price of the book. It is worth its weight in gold. Join us in the 2022-2023 Atrium year, and together we learn why, "[t]he sublime premise of a classical education asserts that right thinking will lead to right, if not righteous, acting." (Norms, Preface,p. vi)

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