we like heroes in shirtsleeves

My teaching experience has led me to believe that unless my aims are more broadly defined than to make my students rational thinkers, I will surely fail to achieve even that. Education must address the whole student, the teacher’s methods, the books and lessons, the traditions, and regulations of the school—all must express not just ideas, but norms, tending to make young people not only rational, but noble.

From Norms and Nobility: a Treatise on Education by David Hicks in his “Preface to the 1990 Edition” on page vi.

This quote (with which Hicks opens chapter one) is closely related:

I know that we live in an age where the homely or psychological detail is considered all-important. We like heroes in shirtsleeves, or, in other words, we don’t like heroes. But things were not always that way, and today is not forever.

From Louis Auchincloss’ 1964 novel The Rector of Justin (quoted by David Hicks in Norms and Nobility on page 1).

Finally, a passage about teachers in such schools:

Having now had an opportunity to study schools as a headmaster as well as a teacher, I would argue that the teacher, not the curriculum proposed in this book, needs to be the focus of reform. The greatest value of the curriculum proposed in this book, I now believe, is that it sustains and nurtures teachers as practitioners of the art of learning while discouraging non-learners from entering the profession.

…Schools are places where students learn because they are places where teachers learn. Only a school (and by extension a curriculum) that encourages teachers to be always learning will keep its teachers fresh and fearless and its students happy and motivated in their studies, ready to test their lessons against life.

From Norms and Nobility by David Hicks in his “Preface to the 1990 Edition” on page viii.

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