James K. A. Smith: Worldview Education is Not Enough

I will be posting a series of video clips of an interview on classical education I helped facilitate with author and philosopher James K. A. Smith (Desiring the Kingdom, Imagining the Kingdom).  The audio of this interview was posted over a year ago on this blog–now we can post the video too.  Dr. Smith is compelling, personal and pithy…. so enjoy.


Thoughtful Film Reviews By Students for Students

This summer we are launching a new  enterprise–a website called FilmFisher.com which will offer thoughtful film reviews by high school and college students for high school and college students.  We are presently recruiting interested and talented writers who might want to play a role with FilmFisher.com  If you or any others you know would like to try your hand at helping start and lead in this new endeavor, please let post and let me know of your interest.  Of course I think students at classical high schools should be well-prepared for this kind of writing! As the site grows and earns revenue we hope to actually pay writers.  At this stage, however it is start-up, volunteer effort…
We will also feature some experienced adult writers who will serve as mentors to younger writers and editors on the site.  The reviews will be oriented to the truth, goodness and beauty found in film, or lack thereof.
All the content on the site at this point is preliminary, “place holder” content so don’t take it too seriously…
Here is a link to the site which is currently under the radar (not indexed with Google):  http://filmfisher.com/

Your feedback and ideas for improvement are welcomed–

Oxford Mathematician John Lennox on Daniel and Pluralism

This past June, Dr. John Lennox (the renowned mathematician and philosopher of science from Oxford University) addressed a group of classical administrators and educators at a retreat sponsored by the Institute for Classical Schools.  One of his seminars was a presentation on the Book of Daniel and Pluralism.  The presentation was part seminar, part sermon, part lecture but was on the whole remarkable.  The entire seminar is posted here (below) in three parts.  I highly recommend it to all classical educators and administrators–it can serve as a great resource for teacher training and development.

For your information, here is a brief biography of Dr. Lennox:

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University. For more information about John Lennox see his website here.

The Witness of Daniel and Pluralism in Three Parts by Dr. John Lennox

Part One

Part Two

Part Three



Four Headmasters Discuss School Discipline

Discipline at a school will pretty much tell the school’s tale.  Put another way, show me the discipline approach at school and I will show you the soul of the school.  The way administrators and teachers seek to create and maintain student behavior, attitude and culture will reveal the overarching purpose or end the school seeks.  It will also reveal much about the disposition and “soul” of the school leadership.  The soul of the leaders will inevitably be passed down to become the soul of their students…which is why the classical tradition has always held forth the nurture and shaping of a human soul as one of the highest aims of education.  Yes, we teach.  But as we teach, we impart.  Hallway conversations, lunch, recess, singing, athletic activities and how we respond to student struggles, failure and misbehavior–all combine to create a school culture that more powerfully shapes students than academic instruction.  If this is true, perhaps we should spend as much time focusing on creating an invigorating school culture as curriculum development.

The video clip below features four heads of school talking about school discipline and culture.  I think you will find their thoughts insightful, challenging and provocative.  Each of these men has been leading a classical school for several years and their accumulated wisdom is apparent.  From left to right on your screen they are: David Goodwin (Ambrose Academy); Keith Nix (Veritas Classical Christian School); Bob Ingram (Geneva School of Orlando); Rod Gilbert (Regents School of Austin).

This video is an early-release video produced by the Institute for Classical Schools.  Many videos like this will be featured on the forthcoming ICS website called the Classical School Round Table, which should launch this July.  The video is just under 30 minutes long, but you can skip around and view excerpts if you like.

An Example of Great Socratic Teaching

As I talk and consult with classical schools and teachers, I am frequently asked what makes for great Socratic teaching.  Good Socratic teaching is an art that is hard to define and takes time to master.  Every Socratic class is a kind of performance or drama, and no class (even with the same students) will be the same.  I hope to take some time on this blog to define and explore great Socratic teaching, because without it no one will  build a truly excellent upper school.  I would like to start, however, by showing and example of excellent Socratic teaching.  The featured teacher is Grant Horner who is dean of the rhetoric school at the Trinity Classical Academy in Santa Clarita, CA.  Grant is a master teacher (in my opinion) and also a professor at the Master’s College where he teaches literature and philosophy.  Grant is also a Fellow with the Alcuin Fellowship (which is part of the Institute for Classical Schools).  In my view, this video is worth showing to new upper school teachers for analysis and inspiration.  His topic is culture and film.

One final note of thanks: This video was made in November, 2010 in a sophomore class at the Regent’s School of Austin.  Grant was a guest teacher in the class.  Thanks to the Regent’s School for permission to tape this class and to Dr. Rosenberg and his 10th grade class for hosting Grant.

What is Math Anyway?

I thought many of you would enjoy this brief clip of Latin, physics and math teacher, Bill Carey.  Bill taught Latin, physics and calculus to students at Ad Fontes Academy in Virginia for five years.  He participated in last summer’s Lyceum on Math and Science (sponsored by the Institute for Classical Schools) and has thought deeply about how math should be taught in classical Christian schools (or anywhere really).  He is not a fan of “cookbook” math, as this brief clip will show.  If you enjoy this, let me know and I will post additional video of Bill on this topic.