God’s Glory in Your Students

What does it mean for our students to be image- bearers? Do our students all bear God’s image in the same way? Can we play a significant role in communicating to our students about God’s unique image borne out in them? Through personal stories and powerful imagery, this session will deepen your understanding of the profound role we play as educators in helping our students see that God has placed His image — though faded — of the Good Life in the depths of their hearts. After attending this session, a teacher with more than 30 years of experience commented that this presentation had a greater impact on how she saw herself as a teacher than any other.

Peter Baur

Peter Baur has been involved in independent education for nearly 40 years and has held roles in several environments, including start-up classical Christian schools and “elite” private schools with over 150 years of history. Peter has served in nearly every capacity, including PR/Marketing, curriculum development, Head of School, development/fundraising, special events, college guidance, admission, advisory, teaching and coaching. In addition, Peter has led schools and churches in strategic planning, has presented at CiRCE, ACCS and SCL, and been a featured speaker at schools around the nation. Peter is known for his ability to articulate classical Christian education in a simple, practical manner. Peter is the only SCL Fellow elected prior to becoming a Head of School.

Cicero on The Good Life and His Influence on the Modern World

The first entrance requirement to Harvard College in 1642 was to be “able to read Tully or such like classical Latin Author ex tempore.” Tully is Cicero. Why did Harvard and other Colonial colleges want students to read Cicero’s writings before admission? I believe the decisive factor was Cicero’s character as found in his writings. He was an influential politician, a canny defense attorney, and the author of dialogues of philosophy, rhetoric, and politics. Cicero’s range of accomplishments inspired the ideal of the Renaissance Man, the man for all seasons, who balanced a thoughtful ethical life with participation in politics. We shall explore both Cicero’s views of the Good Life, beata vita, and his influence on major figures of the 16th and 18th centuries: Thomas More, Martin Luther, David Hume, Edmund Burke, and John Adams.

Christian Kopff

E. Christian Kopff was educated at St. Paul’s School (Garden City NY), Haverford College and UNC, Chapel Hill (Ph. D., Classics). He has taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, since 1973, and most currently as Associate Director of the Honors Program. He has edited a critical edition of the Greek text of Euripides’ Bacchae (Teubner, 1982) and published over 100 articles and reviews on scholarly, pedagogical and popular topics. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, he has received research grants from the NEH and CU’s Committee on Research. The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition (ISIBooks, 1999) is widely cited by Classical Christian educators. He translated Josef Pieper, Tradition: Concept and Claim (ISIBooks, 2008; St. Augustine’s, 2010) and contributed the Introduction to Herbert Jordan’s translation of Homer’s Iliad (Oklahoma UP, 2008).

A Theology of Knitting? Bonaventure, the Common Arts, and the Human Good

One of the most remarkable features of contemporary culture is that many of the “common” (mechanical) arts of tangible making that were once understood to be practical, now seem useless. The practitioners of almost any common art today, whether blacksmithing or bread baking, now find that they can no longer earn a living through these arts because they cannot compete with the economies of scale that industrial production makes possible. Nowhere is this more apparent than the art of knitting: why spend hours knitting a pair of socks when you can buy several pairs for a few dollars? Nevertheless, people do still knit, even if not for obvious economic advantage. What are the human benefits that come only through the practice of such common arts? Do the common arts contribute to the human good? If they do, what does the loss of these arts imply for post-industrial life and education? This workshop considers such questions by drawing on the account of the common arts offered by the 13th- century Franciscan theologian, St. Bonaventure, in his text “Retracing the Arts to Theology” (De reductione artium ad theologiam).

Phillip Donnelly

PHILLIP Donne y Phillip J. Donnelly, PhD, serves as Director of the Great Texts Program in the Honors College at Baylor University. His research focuses on the historical intersections between philosophy, theology, and imaginative literature, with particular a ention to Renaissance literature and the reception of classical educational traditions. He is currently nishing a book on the verbal arts and Christian faith.

Whence Rhetoric for The Good Life?

Most, if not all, classical educators acknowledge the importance of rhetoric in the curriculum of the liberal arts. Many also recognize that the skills of rhetoric are not limited to one or two classes taken on the subject of persuasive writing or public speaking, but are inculcated throughout the education of a child; from getting Jack or Jill up in front of folks to recite Scripture or play the role of Achilles, to their using the tools of language through progymnasmata exercises, to their imitating great writers and speakers of the past and present. Yet when it comes to thinking about formal instruction in rhetoric for one, two, or maybe three years at the end of a child’s “high school” education; what ought the rhetoric curriculum offer? By consulting the educational philosophies for rhetorical training among the Greeks, Romans, and Early Christians, modern classical educators can sharpen our conceptions of what a program of rhetorical training can and ought to be. More specifically, I argue that since the practice of rhetoric is inseparable from questions of Truth, Justice, and “the Good” in the polis, any educational program of rhetoric in which these matters aren’t pervasive throughout undermines the classical foundations of the art.

Joshua Butcher

Born and raised in rural north-central Florida, Mr. Butcher made pilgrimages through the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Republic of Texas on his way back to Florida’s City of Five Flags, a place where his overactive imagination never imagined settling. Currently he teaches at Trinitas Christian School and spends much of his time raising four young lads and a li le lady with his wife, Hannah, whose own pilgrimages as an Air Force kid far outstrip his own.

How a Catechism Can Transform Your Classroom/The Good Life in Confessional: Nominalism vs. Wonder

Aside from secularism, nominalism is the villain most commonly blamed by Christians for all that is wrong with the world. What is nominalism? The lukewarm Christian is nominal. The mediocre Christian is nominal. The nominal Christian is the Christian who doesn’t really get it. The Christian who is in it only for show. But how we do we determine who the nominal Christian is? Have we used a definition of nominalism that is overly convenient? The spiritual boredom and malaise resulting from blaming everyone but yourself for the problems with the Church can be combatted with the sublime joy of others, especially the joy of little children. How can we open ourselves up to this joy? In this lecture, Joshua Gibbs looks at St. Anselm’s dictum that God is “whatever it is better to be than not to be” and discusses ways in which teachers can become divine.

What if you did not have to require students to memorize anything? What if you did not have to test students on memorized material? What if your students memorized massive amounts of information anyway, and they memorized it in such a way that they retained it for life? Step 1: The high school teacher (hard science or soft science, makes no difference) writes a catechism that encapsulates the most important names, dates, definitions, theories, passages, and lists that are covered over the course of the school year. Step 2: The class recites the catechism at the start of every class meeting. Result: The class begins in an orderly, ceremonial fashion every day. The students accidentally learn a massive amount of information. The teacher is freed up to ask more contemplative questions on exams. This practice has revolutionized my classroom. Come hear how a simple, yet thoroughly classical practice can help your students retain a memory of what they study and help you begin class every day in a contemplative fashion.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs is the editor of FilmFisher, a frequent contributor at the CiRCE Institute, and a teacher of great books at Veritas School in Richmond, VA. He has been labeled “insane” by two Pulitzer Prize– winning poets and once abandoned a moving vehicle for fear of his life. He married a girl he fell in love with in high school and has two daughters, both of whom have seven names.

Why the Good Life Sometimes Seems Hard to Find

Ever find yourself wondering who is parenting whom as you interact with families? Does what you experience give you pause as parents (and students) pressure you to make allowances for irresponsibility? This session provides insight into the impact current parenting has, directly on your students and indirectly on you and your entire school. With over 26 years in the mental health field and working with more than 12,000 families, Keith can give you a helpful understanding of the waters in which you find yourself swimming.

Keith McCurdy

Keith has worked with families, children, parents, and individuals for more than 26 years in the field of mental health, working with more than 12,000 individuals and families. He received his Master of Arts and Education Specialist degrees from James Madison University. He is currently the President and CEO of Total Life Counseling, Inc., and is licensed in the state of Virginia as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Keith provides counseling and consulting services as well as a variety of seminars and workshops on improving parenting skills, building strong marriages, and maintaining healthy relationships. He has developed and regularly offers parenting retreats entitled “Raising Sturdy Kids” to help parents operate from the correct parenting paradigm with their children. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board at Faith Christian School, a Christian classical school in Roanoke, VA. Keith is a regular contributor to The Roanoke Star with articles on children, parenting, and marriage. His primary focus is helping others be er understand how a Christian worldview, not psychology, should be the primary in uence in parenting and relationships today. A signi cant part of his work has been helping parents understand the needed bene ts of allowing their children to struggle and learn to do hard things. Keith is an avid outdoorsman and is actively involved with Boy Scouts of America and coaching high school basketball. He and his wife, Lynnie, have been married for 21 years and enjoy raising their two teenagers.

Anti-Political Politics & the Benedict Option

The role of Christians in politics is changing as the light of faith grows dim in the West. Christians will continue to lose power and influence in the public square, but cannot let themselves be pushed out of it. There is a different kind of political engagement they must pioneer, one that draws lessons from the experience of dissidents from Eastern European communist countries. Czech resistance leader Vaclav Havel called it “anti-political politics”: the politics of everyday people and how they order their lives in the community. It includes how we work together to learn what the Good Life is and act to preserve those institutions, practices, and habits that make it possible. The techniques of anti-political politics can teach Christians how to stay engaged with the world while still living in truth.

Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher is a writer and journalist who focuses on Christianity and culture. He is a senior editor for The American Conservative magazine, and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir The Li le Way of Ruthie Leming, and its sequel, How Dante Can Save Your Life. His latest book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, contends that traditional Christians will have to become profoundly countercultural and communal for the faith to survive the coming darkness. Classical Christian education is a key part of that strategy. Rod lives with his wife, Julie, and three children in Baton Rouge, where his kids a end Sequitur Classical Academy and his wife teaches in the grammar school. The Drehers are Orthodox Christians.