Having stated that Trinitas is distinctly different in how and what we teach, let us now consider why we teach. We say that a Trinitas education is not only classical but also Christ-centered. What we mean by Christ-centered is that we teach all subjects as an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center. We do this because we aim to help students develop a biblical worldview. We teach that there is no knowledge or understanding or wisdom apart from God.
Last week, we began to answer the question “What should you look for in a Christian school?” with a discussion of how we teach. But there is more to the distinctly-different Trinitas education including what we teach.
It is our aim at Trinitas to indoctrinate students in their western heritage by teaching them classical content rooted in the western tradition.
For all practical purposes, the current school year is over. Long summer days stretch out before us; but for a few parents, uncertainty about where their kids will attend school in the fall overshadows the potential joys of summer vacation. Such uncertainty may be a result of a recent or pending move, a young child going to school for the first time, or a pressing need to change schools. Regardless of the circumstances, the question “What should you look for in a Christian school?” should be of the highest priority.
Over the next three weeks, we will show how Trinitas answers that question beginning with a discussion of how we teach, then what we teach, and finally why we teach.
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson appears on many classical schools’ lists of “required readings.” These are readings they assign to orient new faculty, administrators, and board members. Although a variety of other titles can be found on such lists, because of its role in the founding of the modern classical Christian school movement, this book is nearly always included.
As evident from these key points found in the third chapter, the book is rich and a bit challenging; yet full of truth. May God grant us the vision, knowledge, and steadfastness to raise a generation of children who desire to obey, honor, and serve the One True God.
As always, Trinitas Christian School makes valuable reading resources like this available to our parents both in the school library and office.
We’ve spent the last two weeks thinking about the dominant form of grades used in schools today, the history and effects of that system, and why they are not the ideal for a classical Christian school.
Bear with me one more time as I recall our pitching metaphor. A coach who tells a young pitcher that they threw a “C+” pitch is not providing much help. And the young pitcher who interrupts a coach’s instruction to ask, “Yeah, but did I pass?” might be riding the bench for a while. Why? Because we understand intuitively that constructive feedback is about more than a graded evaluation.
As we saw last week, the modern grade scale is a fairly recent development in education and not one that has a long history of success or stability. This week we will look at how grades are perceived to function which has important implications for a Christian classical school.
The purpose of grades in a classroom, under the A–F system, is to pass judgment through a numerical evaluation. This gives the notion of impartiality and objectivity while mitigating the force of the judgment. We pass judgment every day, of course, regarding what shoes to wear, what route to take to work, and even what to say to our boss. Judgment is an inescapable part of the human experience. But there is no denying: we do not like feeling “judged.”
Imagine you are a young pitcher, standing on the mound of your first Varsity baseball practice. You throw the ball to the catcher, and your coach proceeds to tell you that it was a “C+” pitch. What would you think? The example seems ludicrous to us because we know what the young man needs: pointed, specific guidance so that he can improve the pitch. We know intuitively that the letter, in this case, is unhelpful.
Now imagine the same scenario from a slightly different angle. You are the coach. As you approach the mound and begin explaining to the student how to use their shoulders as they throw, you are suddenly interrupted. “Yeah, but did I pass, Coach?” You can imagine the frustration in this similarly absurd example. “A student would never say that!” you think to yourself. And you’re right; they would not. Again, this is intuitive; there doesn’t even seem a need to explain it. Similar scenarios could be played out ad nauseum, with different actors substituted in to show that applying a percentage system of grading to life is unhelpful at best and downright dehumanizing at worst. So why does this same proposal meet with such hesitancy when applied to the classroom?
St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, was a fourth-century Church father known for his powerful and eloquent preaching and public speaking. It was his skill in oratory that earned him the name, “Chrysostomos,” or “Golden-mouthed.” And just as gold is both precious and weighty, Chrysostom’s words were not only beautiful, but always employed in the pastoral service of salvation and social justice.