Across the U.S., charter growth is stable if not declining, except for a renewed interest in an old model of schooling: classical education. To learn more about what it is and its benefits to children, we asked a few questions of two local authorities on the topic: Joseph R. Mehsling, executive director at Twin Peaks Classical Academy in Longmont and Brigette Modglin, founding family member and board member at Summit Classical Academy in Broomfield.
In layperson’s terms, what is classical education?
Joseph R. Mehsling: Classical education begins with a relentless focus on literacy and numeracy mastery, the grammar stage. It’s a well regarded philosophy that students that can read, write and do math well can access any curriculum.
Brigette Modglin: Classical education teaches students HOW to learn, not What to learn. It teaches students HOW to think. The outcome of classical education produces students that are lifelong learners, have a passion for learning, who become strong leaders, communicate effectively, are confident, and express themselves logically and eloquently.
Do you consider it the best learning style regardless of how each individual child learns or is it a case of working well for one and perhaps not for another?
JM: A solid “liberal arts” background prepares students for any conceivable occupation beyond school. Learning to learn is what colleges and prospective employers desire.
BM: Education is not one size fits all. Every student learns differently, but classical education can be good for a wide variety of learners. There are some cases where classical education can even help students with learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia.
Is classical education seeing renewed interest at this time and, if so, why?
JM: There is a national and local renewed interest in the timeless virtues of classical education. I think there are a number of reasons, but right now is the recognition that technology and its inherent issues with screen time and social development might not be ready to replace real books, paper, handwriting, critical thinking and meaningful interpersonal (teacher-student) interactions.
BM: Classical education has successfully been used for hundreds of years and has produced many of history’s great minds.
Your last word:
JM: Seeking truth, beauty and goodness are every bit as relevant now, if not more, in a society bombarded by screens, social media distractions and isolation.
BM: There is classical education and there is also classical Christian education, which is a faith-based classical method of teaching. The goal of classical Christian education is to equip students to evaluate knowledge in the light of Scripture, achieve academic excellence, to be thoughtful, and to glorify God. Classical Christian education develops in the student a desire to know God more and to share the love of God with others, not only in word but also in action.
By Darren Thornberry for Raised in the Rockies