Old Etonian salutes classical Christian schools

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Jonathan Aitken, an alumnus of Eton, sees the best aspects of the education he received reflected in the methods of Geneva School, a new classical Christian school in Orlando, Fla.

Like many an Etonian I chafed under what seemed to be the excessive burden of studying Latin for five years. However, in later life I have come to acknowledge at least some truth in Lord Macaulay's dictum "No man can write a decent English sentence until he has first learned to construe a Latin one." I have also come to respect the valedictory words of my Headmaster, Sir Robert Birley, to the leavers' class of 1956, "I hope you will come to realize that the main purpose of your education at Eton has been to enable you to know when the fellow opposite you is talking rot."...

But perhaps the most central principle of Geneva is the ancient imperative of classical education that students must be given the intellectual training that will enable them to think for themselves.

"Most American education consists of teaching how to pass knowledge-based exams," says Geneva's headmaster, the Rev. Robert Ingram. "We are different here. Of course we do not neglect knowledge but we go deeper than substance. We strive to give our students the tools with which they can succeed at reasoning, analysis, argument, and presentation. We want to give them the ability to ask questions such as 'What is this author saying and is it true? How do I know it is true? How can I defend the truth in a rhetorical battle to persuade others by presenting arguments that are winsome, attractive, and convincing?'" Headmaster Ingram also gives priority to the teaching of Christian values and aesthetics, saying: "We help our students to discover what is morally good, aesthetically beautiful, and Biblically philosophically true."

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S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

There is also great, tangible value in knowing when the auto repair shop or the plumber is talking rot. It seems that public school education in the pragmatic aspects of life has been crowded out by a gaggle of pseudo "sciences" all justified by a litany of esoteric sounding reasons. I say: Learn how your car works and how to perform basic maintenance. Learn how to replace a faucet and fix the toilet. Then, if you want to learn latin, be my guest.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 9, 2008 7:15 PM.

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