• Bible,  Education,  Politics

    In with the Old

    Amber Petrovich argues that too many old people are in charge and that they should stand aside to make way for the young. The point is simple: Older people know less about what life is like now than younger people. Since government is about the present, younger people are better equipped to be in charge: “too many of our politicians are too out of touch to be making crucial policy decisions that affect millions of lives every day…I will never claim to know what adult life was like in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, but I do know what adult life is like now. So why are you still making…

  • Education,  Philosophy of Education,  Politics

    On Contemporary Education

    According to the CCSSO teacher of the year, Sydney Chaffee, education is a matter of social activism. Teachers are to be facilitators, “thought partners” who let students “grapple with complex, hard issues” without “necessarily giving them the right answers.” Students are not formed, informed, or reformed by teachers; instead “students make choices” and the aim of the school is to “encourage students to articulate their own opinions, not to coerce them into agreeing with us.” It is the students who do the forming; teachers merely help them get where they want to go. Here is her vision: “School has to be bigger. It has to mean more than ‘I teach…

  • Education,  Postmodernism

    Why No One Mentions Dogs and Aliens Anymore

    No one lies about what happened to their homework anymore. We don’t tell teachers that the dog ate it, or that aliens stole it. Instead, contemporary excuses are of two sorts. The nativist excuse suggests that there is some innate deficiency in the student that determines that she is unable to achieve success in some discipline. For example, upon receiving a terrible grade on her math test, a student may remark, “I’m just not a math person.” According to the nativist, one’s success or failure is determined by an innate ability (or inability) to succeed in a given domain of learning. The excuse implies that failure on a test is…

  • Education,  Language,  Philosophy of Education,  Philosophy of Language

    Grammar and Normativity

    In Chapter 2 of Gwynne’s Grammar, Nevile Gwynne claims that happiness is partly dependent upon good grammar: “If we don’t use words rightly, we shall not think rightly” “If we do not think rightly, we cannot reliably decide rightly, because good decisions depend on accurate thinking” “If we do not decide rightly, we shall make a mess of our lives and also of other people’s lives to the extent that we have an influence on other people” “If we make a mess of our lives, we shall make ourselves and other people unhappy” Therefore, “Happiness depends at least partly on good grammar” Premise (1) suggests that good grammar is the…

  • Education,  Logic,  Philosophy of Education

    Why I Teach Logic to Children

    I teach formal logic to middle schoolers. This comes as a surprise to many people since formal logic is usually first encountered at college (if it is encountered at all). However, the more I teach logic, the more convinced I am that we should be teaching formal logic to our children especially during the middle school years. Not everyone agrees with me. Some suggest that formal logic is much too advanced for children of this age. Others suggest that logic is only important for certain subjects and not necessary for everyone to learn. Let’s start with the latter objection: why should everyone learn formal logic? Surely logic is useful for…

  • Education,  Philosophy of Education

    What is the Nature of Christian Classical Education?

    Christian classical education is on the rise in the United States. But what is it? In what follows, I will attempt a sketch of the context of our present educational project, the assumptions of education in the classical period, and how such assumptions fit with a Christian educational model. I hope to demonstrate that a Christian classical school begins with a starting point not only in the hopes of a parent, but the reality of God’s creation and his intentions for our lives lived within it. A Reaction to Pragmatism Perhaps the best way at this topic is a brief sketch of educational theory that removed any vestiges of the…

  • Education,  Logic

    The Bottle-Kicker: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Beginners

    Here is a kind of statement: If A, then C. The statement is called a hypothetical statement and it has two parts joined together by “if…,then…” In the statement above, A is called the Antecedent and C is called the Consequent. We use these kinds of statements all the time: “If I don’t get a move on, I’m going to be late” “If there’s milk in the fridge, then you can have it.” The antecedent is sometimes called the sufficient condition and the consequent is sometimes called the necessary condition. So, how does this kind of statement work in arguments and how can we understand what the difference between those…

  • Dorothy Sayers,  Education,  Learning,  Philosophy of Education

    For the Love of Dot: On Being An Intellectual Capitalist

    Civilization is, in large part, indebted to its elders who built a vast mountain of intellectual and practical capital. We all rely on it to some degree. In my studies I am utterly indebted to previous work. And there is a ton of it. Though I have only scratched the surface I am aware of the vast capital of those who went before me. I could barely utter a coherent thought if it wasn’t for the hard work of thinkers who blazed the trail. And none of them did it without start up funds from their teachers. The trouble with capital is that you can quickly run out. Dorthy Sayers…