Thursday, August 13, 2009

Classical Time Travel

Confession: I really like science fiction. Time travel fascinates me, more so as a fictional device, because the interplay of past, present, and future challenges the author to maintain a consistent storyline in a universe of infinite possibility, where each act affects everything else.

To my surprise, I have begun to notice similarities between classical education and science fiction.

Like time travel, classical education makes a difference both forward and backward.

It makes a difference backward, because as parents train their children to learn, they must undo the gaps and failings in their own education. They have to re-train their brains in order to model learning for their children.

It makes a difference forward, because when students discover how to learn, they begin to infiltrate a system of broken education and share the joy and challenge of learning with their classmates and professors, employers and coworkers.

Notice I included employers and professors in that description.

I recently read an article called When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom. According to the author, professors also fall prey to low expectations, using technology like PowerPoint instead of teaching. As a dean at Southern Methodist University said, "Lively interactions are what teaching is all about...but those give-and-takes are discouraged by preset collections of slides."

Students in Classical Conversations learn early to lead and participate in discussion, share ideas, and wrestle through conflict-laden subjects as a community. Those skills are not just required for, but needed by higher education, because the ability to write, think, and speak is just as endangered there as it is in K-12 education.

Classical education makes a difference both backward and forward. Like time travel. See?

...because everyday adventures can be classical opportunities too...

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