Publish Date: 
November 16, 2020

Want to order 10 or more copies? Please email Alec Bianco to learn about available discounts. 

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A Classical Guide to Narration

Jason Barney

In stock now!

With a foreword by Kevin Clark, co-author of  
The Liberal Arts Tradition

A Classical Guide to Narration is a practical exploration of how Charlotte Mason's approach to the art and skill of narration might be adopted in modern classical education settings. Full of step-by-step advice for how to implement narration in the classical school classroom, it presents the historical context of narration alongside contemporary studies that reveal its immense value in the development of young minds. By exploring the history of narration and its relationship to the liberal arts tradition, the book sets Charlotte Mason's powerful practice on solid footing for wider adoption in the classical renewal movement.

FAQ: What is the difference between this book and Karen Glass's book, Know and Tell? (With an answer from the author)

Know and Tell addresses the practice of narration primarily from the vantage point of home education, though she addresses a chapter to narration in the classroom with primarily a single school that was just beginning to use narration as an example. Karen Glass provides a practical introduction to the home educator, elaborating on Mason's recommendations for the practice and providing plenty of examples of home educated student work. She pays particular attention to written narration and how it leads to teaching writing and composition. She even addresses student with special needs.

A Classical Guide to Narration is written from the perspective of application in a classical Christian school. It situates the practice of narration within Charlotte Mason's own journey of discovery and her educational movement. It makes broader connections both to classical education theory and to the findings of recent learning science, addressing specific challenges and applications in the classroom for optimal implementation. It further proposes a unique theory on how the trivium arts find application in the narration lesson, and establishes a case for narration as a natural development within the liberal arts tradition. 

About Jason Barney

Jason Barney serves as the Principal of Coram Deo Academy in Carmel, IN. In 2012 he was awarded the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Hillsdale College. He completed his MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College, where he received The Tenney Award in New Testament Studies. Before joining Coram Deo Jason Barney served as the Academic Dean at Clapham School, a classical Christian school in Wheaton, IL. In addition to his administrative responsibilities in strategy, philosophy and faculty training, Jason has taught courses from 3rd-12th grades in Latin, Humanities, Math and Science, and Senior Thesis. He regularly speaks at events and conferences, including SCL, ACCS, and the CiRCE Institute. He recently published The Joy of Learning: Finding Flow Through Classical Education. Jason blogs regularly on ancient wisdom for the modern era at www.educationalrenaissance.com.  

Ravi Jain
co-author of The Liberal Arts Tradition
"Wow! I have often commended Jason Barney’s teaching on narration, but this book reaches new heights. Were teachers to implement it as Jason describes, this practice of narration could transform education throughout the world. Do you want your students to love reading? To love literature? To love thinking deeply? Then this is a must-read book. The latest technologies and fads will always compete for our attention as educators. But Barney has rediscovered a well-worn path by which teachers can lead their students farther up and deeper into the pied beauty of God’s rich pageant of the real. I recommend this book to educators at all levels—from Kindergarten teachers to University Professors."

Bill St Cyr
Co-Founder, Ambleside Schools International
"Over the last twenty years, thousands of Ambleside students have proven the truth of Charlotte Mason’s claim that narration is the “ground plan” of a child’s education. Jason Barney does a masterful job of introducing this essential pedagogical task to the world of classical Christian education."

Jessica Hooten Wilson
Louise Cowan Scholar in Residence at the University of Dallas in the Classical Education and Humanities Graduate Program
“For every reader who has adored Karen Glass’s Know and Tell: The Art of Narration and wants to learn more—even more of the philosophy behind why narration works, how it is not merely good pedagogy but spiritual practice, and more on how to implement narration into the trivium and quadrivium—Jason Barney’s A Classical Guide to Narration must be the next read.”

Rev. Dr. W. Davies Owens
Executive Director, Society for Classical Learning
"While Classical educators have no lack of great works at their disposal, they often suffer from an absence of practical and effective pedagogy to bring those works alive. But no more! In a world of hyper distraction, the practice of narration forms the habit of “attending” in students which builds the skill of engaging the content in full. Often misunderstood and relegated to grammar school classrooms by academics, narration is a hidden gem. Barney’s book is for those willing to take a deeper look. Not only does he take the reader on a historic journey of the great educators and philosophers in the classical liberal arts tradition, but he rightly anchors narration in the writings of educator Charlotte Mason who understood the transformational power of narration to form habits. Mason’s discoveries of narration are reinforced by modern-day brain science researching confirming the effectiveness of narration. This important book ultimately demonstrates how narration complements the way God wired our minds. It should be in the hands of every teacher to awaken the soul and create a compelling classroom environment for joyful discovery. Anyone taking seriously the art and craft of teaching in a K-12 Classical Christian school and who is looking for an antidote to the cram, jam and forget methodologies would do well to read Jason Barney’s book and rediscover this time-tested tool called narration."