The Classical Model of Education
The term “Classical Education” means a variety of different things to different people. Let’s make sure we are on the same page by defining what Classical education means to us!
For us, Classical education is a broad understanding of how the purpose of learning changes as a child matures, as well as the idea that there is a beginning to learning a topic, a middle level of mastery, and a final complete understanding of a topic that will not be achieved without many exposures to the information provided.
Here are a few facts that will get you started if you are a newcomer to Classical education:
Classical education doesn’t have to mean thick books and difficult assignments. Actually, at NEXT Education we believe in assignments students are ready for, and can complete. We also believe in having a lot of fun together! NEXT tutors are encouraged to teach with fun in mind, which might not be the case with all classical educational sources.
Classical education sounds strange to most people today. Chances are, parents reading this page were not educated with a classical education. You are probably more familiar with the “Modern Education” movement that has defined the last 75 years of schooling in America. In modern education, created by John Dewey in the early 1900s, the goal was to create children who are all prepared in the same way, so they become like a raw material for a factory. This “modern” education was never meant to create leaders, but rather followers who would not complain about working in factory jobs. Because of their faulty foundation, today’s educators often miss the fundamentals of children’s development, doing things like “teaching children how to think about math” in second grade, and encouraging high school students to memorize facts and dates in history. Classical educators understand why these methods don’t work, and what to do instead.
Classical education is actually normal, if you consider education history of the world … instead of just the last 75 years in America. For example, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates in 75 B.C./B.C.E. Did you know that the purpose of his trip was all about getting a fine classical education? He studied rhetoric (the final stage of the classical education model) with the best teacher in the ancient world … and history bears the mark of his persuasive leadership to this day.
Classical education teaches morals. One of the goals of Classical education is to read books that provide positive examples of good character. Rather than intentionally remaining silent about the issues of choice and morality, classical teachers seek to become worthy mentors for students, educating their tastes to appreciate character as a bedrock for behavior.
Classical education is divided into stages. These names are unfamiliar to most of us today. Unfortunately, the names of these stages have titles that are misleading to people today. The first stage is called “grammar,” which has changed its meaning to be the parts of speech and rules for sentence construction. The third stage is called “rhetoric,” which has become used to refer to the political lies that we detest in our political leaders. The middle stage is called “dialectic,” which isn’t in common use at all.
These stages are:
Grammar Stage (Kindergarten to Grade 6)
Dialectic Stage (Grade 7 to Grade 8)
Rhetoric Stage (Grade 9 to Grade 12)
Please read more about each stage on the pages provided in the drop-down menu on this page.
Also, check out this awesome TED Talk about Classical education!