When Classical Meets Contemporary: What Do We Keep, What Do We Kick Out and Why?

Christopher Perrin November 9, 2018

Presented at:
2018 SCL Annual Conference


We regard the Classical tradition of education as tried and true, the well-worn path of wisdom that we are wise to follow. We also know that just because something is old doesn't make it best; nor is something that is contemporary necessarily bad. The reverse is also true: Just because something is old doesn't make it bad; nor is something that is contemporary necessarily good. What then makes something good? The classical tradition has always extolled the true, the good and the beautiful, and has generally acknowledged them as transcending time. Are there any new insights into the good produced by our contemporary culture? Is there any recent research that validates and deepens our understanding of Classical education? What trends, beliefs and practices produced by our current culture should be resisted? Are there some that can be embraced or co-opted? In this seminar, we will examine some major contemporary ideas that complement the ideals of Classical education, as well as some that undermine them. We will examine trends in scientific research (cognitive science), technology, social interaction and assessment (testing and metrics). The seminar will conclude with some discussion about how we can wisely engage contemporary culture in our schools, allowing the ideals of the true, good and beautiful to help us assess, sift and create a rich school culture that is both Classical and contemporary.


Classical Education Contemporary culture Pedagogy School Culture


Christopher Perrin
Dr. Christopher Perrin is an author, consultant and speaker, who is committed to the national renewal of the liberal arts tradition. He co-founded and serves full time as the CEO/publisher at Classical Academic Press, a classical education curriculum, media, and consulting company. Christopher serves as a consultant to charter, public, private, and Christian schools across the country. He is the former vice president of the Society for Classical Learning and the director of the Alcuin Fellowship of classical educators. He has published numerous articles and lectures that are widely used throughout the United States and the English-speaking world. Christopher received his B.A. in history from the University of South Carolina and his M.Div. and Ph.D. in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. Johns College in Annapolis. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, PA for ten years. He is the author of the books An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents, The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker, Greek for Children, and co-author of the Latin for Children series published by Classical Academic Press.

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