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

Martin Cothran discusses the importance of content knowledge over specific skills.

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.

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The Society for Classical Learning exists to foster human flourishing by making classical Christian education thrive.

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