Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Norms & Nobility, chapter 1, III

I love to dive into these sections and discuss them at length--I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion so far, and am grateful to Cindy for starting it. Because I am now in the US, and my internet access may be sporadic or limited, I'm going to post when I can instead of trying to match her pace.

In an attempt to be brief, I'm going to call attention to the one thing that seems most important to me in this section--these quotes:

"Not everyone is obliged to excel in philosophy, medicine, or the law, nor are all equally favored by nature; but all are destined to live in society and to practice virtue." (Vittorino da Feltre, 15th-century Italian educator)

"The truth is that knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong, the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth, and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and Justice are virtues and excellences of all times and of all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance." (Samuel Johnson)

When we acknowledge that classical education is about educating the spirit of man for virtue, and we desire to teach dialectical thinking toward that end, we have to consider that this kind of education is for everyone, not an elite, and it does appear, from these quotes, that that was the way the older educators viewed their task.

Comenius, in his Great Didactic, urged "A Liberal Education for All," and Charlotte Mason uses his title when she shares her vision for exactly that. The best part of classical education--the part that gives us an ideal to reach for, encourages general curiosity, and teaches us to think dialectically (synthetically), so that we understand the relationship between knowing what is right and our responsibility to do it, is something that should belong to everyone.


At 2:22 AM , Blogger Heatherly said...

good charlotte mason quotes.
i like her education philosophy


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