Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Well Trained Wednesday: What is Classical Education?

I am going to start posting specifically on Classical Education every Wednesday. I will start with defining what Classical Education is to going through each phase and subject of Classical education. I have decided to start with discussing sections from my first introduction to Classical Education which is "The Well Trained Mind" by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. After I go through my highlights of there wonderfully put together text I will then make my way through Leigh Burtins of Classical Conversations books "The Core" and "Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home- Centered Education". There are other books on Classical Education out there and I may not get to them all but these are the ones I am going to start with and we will go from there. So lets get started shall we.

What is Classical Education?

The Classical Education model is based off the Trivium which is a three prong learning cycle. The phases of the Classical Education Trivium are the Grammar phase or sometimes refered to as Poll Parrot phase, then the Logic or Dialectic phase, and lastly the Rhetoric phase. It may be easier to look at it in terms of Elementary, Middle, and High School but the Classical model is more than your typical grade level learning approach. Its more level based learning than grade level based learning. Classical Education is training the mind to be lifelong independent learners by presenting methods and materials that flow with the natural patterns of development. Each phase builds upon the skills mastered in the one before.

In "The Well Traind Mind" Susan Wise Bauer recalls her own Classical Education given to her by her mother Jessie and describes it like this:

" Our Education was language- centered, not image- centered; we read and listened and wrote, but we rarely watched. She spent the early years of schooling giving us facts, systematically laying the foundation for advanced study. She taught us to think through arguments, and then she taught us how to express ourselves. This is the Classical pattern of the trivium, the three- part process of training the mind."

Classical Education at one point in history was the standard now our generation is in a Rebirth or Renassiance trying to reclaim The Lost Tools of Learning as influential scholar Dorthy Sayer would put it.

Next week we will be starting our journey into the first leg of the Classical Education Trivium the Grammar Phase.

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