this hope and longing of creatures should be fulfilled

John Amos Comenius (1592–1670) was a great educational reformer (called father of modern education by some). He suggests that the Garden of Eden was a school for the childlike souls of Adam and Eve, and Comenius says that all schools should be modeled on that first example. Essential to this holistic vision, Comenius holds aContinue reading “this hope and longing of creatures should be fulfilled”

thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers

C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man: Hitherto the plans of educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted and indeed, when we read them — how Plato would have every infant “a bastard nursed in a bureau”, and Elyot would have the boys see no men before the age of seven and, afterContinue reading “thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers”

the future is eating us alive

That’s the most interesting question in the world. How big is big enough? The Amish pretty much have solved it. Industrialism doesn’t propose a limit. David Kline, my friend, went to a Mennonite meeting. They were asking what community meant. And he said, “When my son and I are plowing in the spring, we restContinue reading “the future is eating us alive”

a king who knows his ken

We no longer respect the idea that some things are “beyond our ken.” We don’t treat knowledge as a serious responsibility, to be given and received slowly and with clear purpose. We no longer think of education as a cultivation of our desires or our capacity for wonder. Instead, education is the amassing of informationContinue reading “a king who knows his ken”

what if education was primarily concerned with shaping our hopes and passions

From Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation by James K.A. Smith: What if education … is not primarily about the absorption of ideas and information, but about the formation of hearts and desires? What if we began by appreciating how education not only gets into our head but also (and more fundamentally) grabsContinue reading “what if education was primarily concerned with shaping our hopes and passions”

the arts of preserving the formal integrity of the things we receive as wholes already formed

We can, to be sure, see parts and so believe in them. But there has always been a higher seeing that informs us that parts, in themselves, are of no worth. Genesis is right: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The phrase “be alone” is a contradiction in terms. A brainContinue reading “the arts of preserving the formal integrity of the things we receive as wholes already formed”

people who can be started by common things

Indeed, it is a [tragic] fact that the same progressives who insist that government shall be democratic often insist that art must be [elitist], and “the public”, which is a god when they are talking about votes, becomes a brute when they are talking about books and pictures. [The solution] does not lie in increasingContinue reading “people who can be started by common things”

good taste in knowledge

Excerpts from the essay “Good Taste in Knowledge” in the book The Importance of Living (1938) by Lin Yutang: The aim of education or culture is merely the development of good taste in knowledge and good form in conduct. The cultured man or the ideal educated man is not necessarily one who is well-read orContinue reading “good taste in knowledge”

a constellation of practices, rituals, and routines

Education is not primarily a heady project concerned with providing information; rather, education is most fundamentally a matter of formation, a task of shaping and creating a certain kind of people. What makes them a distinctive kind of people is what they love or desire – what they envision as ‘the good life’ of theContinue reading “a constellation of practices, rituals, and routines”

wellspring of our desire to know

But I have come to see that knowledge contains its own morality, that it begins not in a neutrality but in a place of passion within the human soul. Depending on the nature of that passion, our knowledge will follow certain courses and head toward certain ends. From the point where it originates in theContinue reading “wellspring of our desire to know”