Classical Christian Schools

by admin on September 18, 2010

in Education, Schools

I’ve written quite extensively in recent weeks on some of the most prevalent and growing philosophies of Education. The sad fact is, many educators and administrators do not fully understand what it means to have a philosophy of education, and are unable to articulate it if they do. They sum it up by simply stating “Well, we’re a Christian school, and we have chapel once a week…” This is not enough definition!

There are two philosophies or methodologies of education of which I am a very big advocate. One I have written about already. It is called the Principle Approach. The other “is like unto it” and is called Classical Christian Education (CCE).

Classical Christian Education, like numerous curriculums and methods began to form in the nineteen seventies. It places a heavy emphasis on the Greco- Roman languages, thought and tradition as the basis for western society. The schools that employ this approach usually offer Greek and Latin language classes, logic and debate, and English and literature as the core of their curriculum list. The classrooms themselves appear generally traditional. Studies usually center on in- class lecture and a question- answer format. Like the Principle Approach, The Classical School puts a heavy emphasis on the teacher’s role in the classroom. The program stresses the importance of critical reasoning and the Socratic Method.

These schools are dedicated to producing thinking Christian young people, with a worldview that is well founded in the scriptures. They hold as their purpose also to help preserve the Judeo- Christian culture in our nation. Theologically the Classical Schools tend toward a fairly heavy reform doctrine. This may seem surprising from institutions that champion Romance Traditions. As far as I can tell there are groups, which offer Classical Schools membership and accreditation, like the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS). These groups tend to be more tightly bound doctrinally, to the Calvinist position. (I should be careful to state that this is not exclusively the case). There are also schools that are more independent and loosely “classical.” These seem to be more denominationally diverse. Even some Catholic Schools consider themselves to be classical these days.

While I personally am not of the Reformed Tradition, I do strongly advocate the classical model’s devotion to critical reasoning, championing the Judeo- Christian heritage and the use of traditional teacher driven classrooms. For a lot more information on the classical model, visit the following websites: http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=128&theme=home&page=1&loc=b&type=cttf , and http://www.accsedu.org/Mission_Statement.ihtml?id=36663 .

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