A Guide and Warning From America’s Classical Education Past: The Yale Report of 1828

In the early 19th century, Yale College stood as the last, great bastion of classical education in the United States. Buffeted by demands for “useful learning” and scathing critiques of “dead languages,” the Yale faculty produced an eloquent apology for classical education, the famed Yale Report of 1828. This document provided an aegis for the antebellum, American, classical education project, defending it against the attacks of utilitarian, modernist educational reforms up through the Civil War. In focusing on the Yale Report’s stirring defense of Greek and Latin’s pedagogical value, however, scholars and educators have overlooked the role of a discipline central to both the report itself and the tradition of the classical education it defended — mathematics. As we rebuild the classical education tradition, putting the Yale Report of 1828 in its historic context and attending to its arguments about mathematical education offers today’s classical schools both a guide and a warning.

Shea Ramquist

Shea Ramquist is a native of Tokyo, Japan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in humanities after studying at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute and Oxford University. He then earned a master’s degree in American intellectual history at the Universityof Notre Dame, specializing in the antebellum American classical college and the rise of the modern university. In 2015, he accepted a position in the Rhetoric School of Trinity Classical Academy in Santa Clarita, California, where he teaches honors courses in American and European history, ancient philosophy and rhetoric.

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

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.

CHristopher Perrin

Dr. Christopher Perrin is an author, consultant and speaker, who specializes in classical education and 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 has served on the board of the Society for Classical Learning and is 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 bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina and his master’s degree in divinity and doctorate in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding Headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for 10 years. He is the author of 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.

Taking Classical Mainstream

Classical educators should be the ones to set new standards of excellence for the entire nation. Currently, classical schools have to defer to the standardized tests of the failing educational establishment. These standards, especially as seen in the SAT and ACT, communicate to students and families that the most salient features of classical schools are irrelevant. For many colleges, the CLT is quickly becoming the new gold standard. Because the CLT evaluates a student’s ability to understand philosophy, logic, theology and ethics, it is a more effective tool in demonstrating to colleges the exceptional academic formation of classically educated students.

Jeremy Tate

Jeremy Tate is the Co- Founder and President of the CLT, a classically based alternative to the SAT and ACT. Before CLT, Jeremy served as a college counselor and test-prep consultant. Jeremy holds degrees from Louisiana State University and Reformed Theological Seminary. Jeremy and his wife, Erin, have four children

Classical Christian Education as a Mission Strategy in Africa

Africa may be reached by the gospel, but Africans say that Christianity “is 2000 miles wide and a centimeter deep.” In the next 30 years, one out of every two human beings will be born in Africa. Should we not be concerned? That explosive growth — combined with extensive poverty and great educational challenges — places the African continent in the unique position to benefit significantly from classical Christian education. This may be the singular tool to help the poor, evangelize the unreached, strengthen the church and disciple the next generation of believers. Participants will learn about Africa’s poverty, the continent’s educational challenges and the need for a response from the Church. Come learn about what’s being done in 10 African schools, as well as strategies for training up and sending out well-equipped educators to expand and indigenize the vision of classical Christian education.

Karen Elliott

Karen has served with Rafiki since 1990. Her service has included 12 years on the mission field, most of which was spent in Jos, Nigeria. Upon returning to the United States, she became the Director of Africa Operations for the Rafiki Home Office and was responsible for managing their ChildCare and education programs, as well as their curriculum development. She served in that role for 10 years before being named Rafiki’s Executive Director in January of 2012. Karen travels to Africa several times a year to oversee operations at each Rafiki Village, and considers herself to be an “American-African.” She’s comfortable talking to presidents of African countries, national church leaders and local tribal chieftains, but she especially loves caring for the children and students at Rafiki Villages. Karen is originally from Houston, Texas, and previously worked in commercial banking. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Southern Methodist University and earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Arlington. Karen is a member of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and was a teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship in Texas and Africa for many years. She views herself as a servant of Christ who desires to help others come to know God, become lifelong disciples of Him and become learners of all He has created.

Nature and Vision of Classical Christian Education

What is classical Christian education? How is it different from other approaches to education? How can we clearly and succinctly explain the nature and vision
of classical Christian education despite its long and complicated history? This seminar addresses these questions by examining some of the essential defining characteristics of classical Christian education, such as its foundational assumptions, goals, curriculum and pedagogy. While there is no single reductive formula for classical Christian education, these key characteristics distinguish it from other educational paradigms in important ways and provide a framework for clearly and succinctly explaining what it is all about.

David Diener

Dr. David Diener began his post-secondary education at Wheaton College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and ancient languages. After putting his philosophical training to work by building custom cabinets and doing high-end finish carpentry for an Amish company, he moved with his wife to Bogotá, Colombia, where they served as missionaries for three years at a Christian international school. He then attended Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree in philosophy, another master’s degree in history and philosophy of education, and a dual doctorate in philosophy and philosophy of education. He has taught at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, served as Head of Upper Schools at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas, and currently is the Head of School at Grace Academy in Georgetown, Texas. He also teaches philosophy courses at Taylor University, is an Alcuin Fellow and offers consulting services through Classical Academic Press. He is the author of Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator and serves as the series editor for Classical Academic Press’ Giants in the History of Education. The Dieners have four wonderful children and are passionate about classical Christian education and the impact it can have on the church, our society and the world.

Classical Education in an Urban Context

This seminar will explore the challenges of providing classical and Christian education in the urban context. I have often used the following analogy: doing classical education in a suburban context is to doing classical education in an urban context as a general practice physician’s work is to a trauma surgeon’s work. The needs of students in an urban context are often much more intensive than the needs of a student who is in a suburban context. In the urban context, the basics of food, clothing, and adequate shelter must be considered along with grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Urban students often qualify as “at-risk” students and come to school far less prepared for academic work than their suburban counterparts. The urban context demands a different approach to classical education. What does classical education look like in the urban school? This session will look at the kinds of solutions that urban schools have devised to deal with the problems that confront them as they aspire to teach urban students classically. This seminar is also designed to encourage discussion and a sharing of ideas and best practices from teachers and administrators involved in urban education.

Peter VandeBrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an All-American decathlete and Philosophy major. He a ended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996–2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the high school principal and track coach at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, an urban Christ-centered school. He is married and has two daughters.

Recovering the Lost Tools of Loving: The Missing Link Between Truth and Goodness in Christian Education

Douglas Wilson’s 1991 Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning in classical Christian education enjoys continued growth to this day. Since that time, much has been written about the conservation of the Judeo-Christian liberal arts tradition of academics. Classical teaching methods and curricula have been emphasized as tools to help children learn how to think logically and biblically about the world. However, how do we teach our children to not only know what is lovely but also to love what is lovely? In this session, Dr. Aniol will discuss the Judeo-Christian tradition of Beauty, or rightly ordered loves, as the missing link between right thinking and right action, in order to teach our children to be complete Christians in mind, will, and emotions.

Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol, PhD, is an author, speaker, and teacher of culture, worship, aesthetics, and church ministry philosophy. He is on the faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; he founded Religious Affections Ministries; he lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries; and he has authored several books and dozens of articles. Scott is the Managing Editor of Artistic Theologian, a scholarly journal of worship and church ministry, and serves on the steering committee of the Biblical Worship section of the Evangelical Theological Society. Scott holds a PhD in worship and ministry (SWBTS), a master’s degree in Theological Studies (SWBTS), a master’s degree in Aesthetics (NIU), and a bachelor of music in Church Music (BJU). Scott has served as associate pastor, minister of music, and an elder in churches in Illinois, North Carolina, and currently at Church of Christ the King in Fort Worth. Scott travels around the country and internationally through the ministry he started in 2008, Religious Affections Ministries (www.religiousa ections.org), speaking at churches, Christian colleges, seminaries, and conferences. He has written three books, Worship in Song: A Biblical Philosophy of Music and Worship (BMH Books, 2009), Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World (RAM, 2010), and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture (Kregel, 2015). He has also presented academic papers at various meetings such as the Evangelical Theological Society and has dozens of articles and book reviews published in scholarly journals. Scott and his wife, Becky, classically homeschool their two children, Caleb and Kate.

Intellectual Character: What is it? And Why Does It Matter? The Critical Role That Intellectual Character Development Can Play in Classical Christian Education (Part II)

Let’s say that we have a clear understanding of what intellectual character is, and agree that it matters. Now what? In this interactive session, using examples from Rosslyn Academy, Phil will facilitate a dialog surrounding some simple and practical ways in which teaching for intellectual character can become a part of your classroom and school culture.

Phillip Dow

Dr. Philip Dow (PhD, Cambridge) has been involved in Christian education for 15 years in both classical and nonclassical schools. He is currently the Superintendent at Rosslyn Academy, a Pre-K–12, international Christian school in Nairobi, Kenya, of 650 students from over 50 di erent nationalities. Phil is also the author of Virtuous Minds: Intellectual Character Development for Students, Teachers and Parents (IVP Academic, 2013).

Intellectual Character: What is it? And Why Does It Matter? The Critical Role That Intellectual Character Development Can Play in Classical Christian Education

The concept of intellectual character has strong biblical and classical roots, but until very recently has been largely ignored or missed by modern education. In this session, Phil Dow will define “intellectual character,” describe its potentially transformative impact on learning and life, and argue that the pursuit of virtuous intellectual character needs to be a fundamental aim of Christian education.

Phillip Dow

Dr. Philip Dow (PhD, Cambridge) has been involved in Christian education for 15 years in both classical and nonclassical schools. He is currently the Superintendent at Rosslyn Academy, a Pre-K–12, international Christian school in Nairobi, Kenya, of 650 students from over 50 di erent nationalities. Phil is also the author of Virtuous Minds: Intellectual Character Development for Students, Teachers and Parents (IVP Academic, 2013).

Plato: Understanding the Foundations of the Classical Education Tradition

Plato is one of the principal founders of the Western intellectual tradition, and his understanding of education has had a profound impact on the development of educational theory and practice around the world for nearly two-and-a-half millennia. The study of his views is thus of great bene t, both as a means of examining fundamental questions about the nature of education addressed in his work, and also as a means of better understanding the historical roots of the Western educational tradition. This seminar offers an introduction to Plato’s educational thought by examining the historical and educational context in which he lived, his understanding of the nature and purpose of education, his proposal for a program of education, and some contributions that his thought has for our own educational thought and practice in the 21st century.

David Diener

Dr. David Diener began his formal post-secondary education at Wheaton College, where he graduated summa cum laude with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Ancient Languages. A er pu ing his philosophical training to work by building custom cabinets and doing high-end nish carpentry for an Amish company, he moved with his wife to Bogotá, Colombia, where they served as missionaries for three years at a Christian international school. He then a ended graduate school at Indiana University, where he earned an MA in Philosophy, an MS in History and Philosophy of Education, and a dual PhD in Philosophy and Philosophy of Education. He has taught at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, served as Head of Upper Schools at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, TX, and currently is the Head of School at Grace Academy in Georgetown, TX. He also teaches philosophy courses for Taylor University as an Adjunct Professor. The Dieners have four wonderful children and are passionate about classical Christian education and the impact it can have on the church, our society, and the world.