In 2022 I began working as an administrator at a classical school in Fullerton, CA. I’m currently undergoing a learning curve with classical education. For those unfamiliar with classical education, it is a movement that has been growing in the US since the 1970’s; its focus is often on liberal arts education (not political liberalism or theological liberalism) the classic works of western history, latin and so forth. It was the dominant form of education in US and most of Europe prior to the 1900’s progressivist moves in education. There has been a resurgence of schools returning to this method of education.
In listening to people try to talk about classical education it became quickly evident to me that they meant a variety of things. As it turns out, what people mean when they use the words “classical education” are not always the same thing. It seems to me that folks could be discussing up to five different related topics when they discuss classical education. Here is version 1 of my attempt to map out classical five main features that go into what is meant by classical education.
3& 4 = Context (Global, school level, even personal)
1 Teaching/Learning Methods = How learners learn in a classical context.
2 Content = The stuff of classical education (paradigmatically the Great/Classical literary works)
5 Teloi = What we hope to accomplish by classical education/movement.
Metaphor/model = A four wheel car. Each wheel propels the classical effort. The destination the car goals is different from the car itself.
Communication Suggestion = when talking with students and parents, consider talking first about the goals, teloi and moving backward from there.
As a contrast (not necessarily a disagreement with this diagram, one could look up Dr. David Diener’s videos on what constitutes classical education.
By “Perrin 8” I am referring to this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi9UBSIu10M