Dorothy Sayers Was Wrong About the Art of Grammar

Dorothy Sayers famously wrote that Grammar is the “poll parrot” stage in which younger students memorize many facts. In her influential and often valuable essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, she asserts that she is replicating the medieval understanding of the Trivium. We’ll explore the perspective that Sayers’ definition of the art of Grammar actually departs radically from the classical, medieval and Renaissance understanding of it and that her idea has some problematic consequences for our younger students. We’ll also discuss ways we could do better by our students by adopting the true, classical definition of Grammar as the art of correctly using language and interpreting accurately. From this definition follow some broad practical suggestions for how we should approach teaching the art of Grammar in classical Christian schools, motivated by loving the little things.

Andrew Selby

Andrew Selby has a doctorate in religion focusing on early Christian theology from Baylor University. He teaches medieval history, Bible, Latin and rhetoric classes, and has published articles in the areas of Biblical interpretation, Church history and systematic theology. With a passion for classical Christian education, he wants to help teachers and parents alike catch a vision for a tradition-resourced approach to helping our boys and girls grow to be mature men and women of God.

Using Primary Sources to Teach History at the Grammar Stage

Many teachers at the Grammar stage feel intimidated by teaching history and wonder if there is a way to make it more interesting. Introducing primary sources into your history curriculum will help your students understand and engage history in deep and meaningful ways. Participants will learn how to add flavor to their history curriculum using recitation pieces, field trips, recorded interviews, music, art and museum resources available online. You’ll learn general principles that can be applied to U.S. or world history curriculums with practical, hands- on resources and ideas that can be directly applied to The History of US, The Story of the World, BiblioPlan and the Veritas Press history cards.

Barbara Seidle

Barbara Seidle is currently the Class Four teacher at The Wilberforce School in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. After spending almost a decade homeschooling her own children and teaching some homeschool history classes, she made the switch to teaching in the classical school environment seven years ago. She has taught history in 1st, 3rd and 4th Grade. Her love of history grew out of her time homeschooling and has continued to grow each year. Barbara has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The College of New Jersey, and she holds New Jersey teaching credentials. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, and their three children, who are in high school and college. She loves writing, reading, cooking, eating and traveling. Barbara is the founder of The Hannah More Project, a website dedicated to helping Christians become more active in justice ministries both locally and globally.

Recruiting and Retaining Talented Teachers

Recruiting and retaining talented teachers is a challenge for school leadership. This workshop focuses on the systems in place at The Geneva School to understand staf ng needs, recruit talented teachers, and interview and vet prospective teachers. We will focus on the evaluation and retention of talented teachers, including strategies for monitoring and improving the teaching experience, as well as strategies for long-term retention. We want to win the war for talent by finding and keeping passionate and competent teachers who are not just high IQ, but high EQ, as well.

Jim Reynolds

Jim Reynolds helped begin an ecumenical Christian school in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area in the 1980s and taught there for eight years before becoming a consultant with Harcourt School Publishers. In his 19 years at Harcourt School Publishing (and later Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Jim transitioned from an Educational Consultant to Mathematics Marketing Manager and then to Vice President/Editor-in-Chief of Mathematics. Jim left educational publishing in 2011 for the opportunity to serve the students, parents and faculty at The Geneva School as the Dean of Faculty. He is excited to lead a very talented faculty in teaching and forming students to love God, love their neighbor and learn about God’s creation. Jim has three sons who have graduated from The Geneva School.

Bob Ingram

Robert Ingram is the Headmaster of The Geneva School in Orlando, Florida, and is in his 10th year as Head of School. Previously he served as a Founding Board Member of Geneva and Chairman of the Board for eight years. Bob is a graduate of The College of Wooster in Ohio, and has master’s degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Geneva College. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and was the Senior Vice President of Ligonier Ministries from 1986 to 1995. In addition to consulting with numerous classical schools, Bob also served as Chairman of SCL. Bob has a granddaughter who attends The Geneva School.

Cultivating a Culture of Affirmation in the Classical Classroom

Teachers often view their role in the classroom as one of instruction, correction and encouragement. But this perspective overlooks a key element of any successful classroom culture: affirmation. How can teachers correct and affirm students without buying into the worldly philosophy of promoting self-esteem? By promoting God-esteem. This workshop explores practical ways to promote God-esteem in the classical classroom.

Martha Reed

Martha Reed has a master’s degree in education and began her teaching career in a classical start-up school in Florida in 1995. Her teaching experience covers a variety of age levels, from Kindergarten to college freshmen, and she has several years of administrative experience in Christian schools. For the last eight years, she has taught 6th Grade — her favorite — at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys reading, garden club and sipping Earl Grey tea. She regularly contributes to the FOCUS on Christian Education blog and frequently speaks at Christian education conferences.

Calling Our Students to Lead: A Leadership Class for High School Students

Classical schools beautifully prepare students for a lifetime of learning. Classical Christian schools interweave that scholarship with discipleship. Such graduates are well-prepared to continue their studies at the university level and to flourish as lifelong learners, employees, parishioners, artisans and more. But are we doing enough to explicitly call and equip our students to lead? This workshop will explore the goals and design of a leadership course for students that aligns with the ethos of classical Christian education, equips students to be active and thoughtful members of their local communities and offers a model for schools to consider as they develop their own programs.

Sara Kennedy

Sara Kennedy is a graduate of Mary Washington College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She has served as a scheduler, special assistant and writer for numerous campaigns and elected officials. From 2006 to 2009, she served as the Marketing Director for the Tianjin International School in China. Upon her family’s return to the United States, Sara worked for the Attorney General of Virginia prior to beginning her role as the Director of Communications at Veritas School in 2012. For several years, Sara also served on the board of the Richmond Christian Leadership Institute, which inspired her work to develop a high school Christian leadership program.

The Enchanted Cosmos: Mathematics Among the Liberal Arts

This session will introduce a curriculum and pedagogy for mathematics grounded in the classical Christian tradition. It will give special attention to 7th through 12th Grades (or pre-algebra through calculus), though many topics will be of interest to K-6 teachers. This classical approach, which is under active development for release through Classical Academic Press, will demonstrate the possibilities opened by thorough attention to the traditional categories of the Quadrivium, including
1) a pedagogy of puzzle, proof and play; 2) a curriculum of wonders; and 3) mathematics for the sake of wisdom and worship. Everybody will leave with a preliminary packet of new pedagogical models, a sheet of great math quotes and an overview of the classical math curriculum envisioned. Join us to consider how we can recover for students the wonder of an enchanted cosmos that God has spoken — or perhaps sung — into being.

Ravi Jain

Ravi Jain graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree and interests in physics, ancient Greek and international political economies. He worked at various churches, received a master’s degree from Reformed Theological Seminary and later earned a graduate certificate in mathematics from the University of Central Florida. He began teaching calculus and physics at The Geneva School in 2003, where he has developed an integrated double-period class called The Scienti c Revolution. In this class, students read primary sources like Galileo and Newton in order to recapitulate the narrative of discovery while preserving the mathematical and scientific rigor expected of a college-level treatment. During his tenure there, he co-authored The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education. He has given over 100 talks and workshops worldwide on topics related to education, mathematics and science. He has two young boys, Judah and Xavier. After the duties of the week have been discharged — usually by 8:53 on Saturday nights — he enjoys his few remaining hours with family, friends and his wife, Kelley Anne, whom he met in Japan.

Why is Discipleship Key to What We Are Trying to Accomplish in CCE?

It may seem obvious, but discipleship is key to what we are trying to accomplish through our classical Christian schools. However, discipleship is increasingly harder to accomplish in our post-everything world, and it often gets lost as background among all the other goals that we are seeking to accomplish. This seminar will look at the book of Judges to learn what happens when discipleship is lost. Participants will also explore how they can effectively disciple through our schools in today’s culture.

Howard Davis

Howard Davis lives in a household that closely resembles the household of Pride and Prejudice — he’s the dad of five girls (ranging from 7 to 17 years old) and the husband of one wife, Melissa, who teaches at Providence Classical Academy in Bossier City, Louisiana. He grew up in Mississippi, studied accounting and economics at Baylor, worked as an accountant, went to Covenant Seminary, pastored Grace Presbyterian in Shreveport for 14 years, started Providence Classical Academy in 2005 and has been the Head of School there for eight years.

Why Knowledge Matters: How an Over-Emphasis on Skills is Corrupting the Classroom and What Can Be Done About It

Modern education theory emphasizes skills and downplays content. But is there really such a thing as “reading skills,” “critical thinking skills,” or “problem- solving skills” apart from speci c content knowledge? What does research say about whether skills can be learned outside of content domains? Can abstract skills be tested and what do these tests really measure? Can technology replace memory and content knowledge? How does classical education better do the things that skills training and technology purport to do?

Martin Cothran

Martin Cothran is Director of the Classical Latin School Association and Editor of the Classical Teacher magazine, a quarterly periodical for parents and professional educators published by Memoria Press. He is the author of several educational textbooks, including Traditional Logic I, Traditional Logic II, Material Logic: A Course on How to Think, Classical Rhetoric: A Study of Aristotle’s Principles of Persuasion and Lingua Biblica: Old Testament Stories in Latin. His articles on education and other issues have appeared in numerous publications around the country, and he has also appeared on ABC Radio News, American Family Radio, Family News in Focus, NBC Nightly News and the PBS News Hour. He previously taught Latin, logic and rhetoric at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law, now Trinity International University.

Inclusion of Students With Disabilities in the Classical and Christian Classroom

Classical Christian education is the best possible way to nurture the soul. It involves the best methods, materials and message to build the kingdom of God that is intended for the “least of these.” What are we doing to make this blessing available for students with disabilities? Schools are often unsure of how to make it work and are frequently unskilled in how to proceed. This workshop will present a philosophy of inclusion and practical principles for providing student support. Come see how your school can be blessed.

Leslie Collins

Leslie has been working in classical and Christian education since 1995, and has been working with students with disabilities for 30 years. She is passionate about the people of God’s kingdom welcoming others from different abilities and backgrounds. She is currently the Head of School at Covenant Academy in Cypress, Texas, a diverse and welcoming community. Covenant’s vision is for each child to be equipped to achieve his or her fullest potential as he or she embarks on the journey of the liberal arts tradition.

A Practical Introduction to the Liberal Arts

As the tools and seeds of learning, the liberal arts of language and math have important implications for teaching and learning in the classical classroom. This session introduces the basic logic of liberal arts teaching through concrete examples.

Kevin Clark

As the tools and seeds of learning, the liberal arts of language and math have important implications for teaching and learning in the classical classroom. This session introduces the basic logic of liberal arts teaching through concrete examples.