We are living during an age in the West, perhaps in the whole world, wherein the prevailing view of all things could best be described as utilitarian. Modern Americans, in particular, have a way of reducing most everything down to its usefulness, its efficiency, and of course, its cost. Jobs go to the lowest bidder. We buy where we get the best deal. Our books are paperback no matter the genre, dime store romance or classic. Our buildings are metal, whether serving as an auto body shop or a church. After a few years of this kind of thinking, everything begins to look the same.
“Is not the great defect of our education today … that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything except the art of learning.” –Dorothy Sayers
Upon going to school, children are expected to take up certain “subjects,” to apply themselves to these subjects, and to eventually become masters of them. We as parents and teachers are not wrong to push our children and students to master those subjects; however, one of the drawbacks of focusing on mastering subjects is that we can develop tunnel vision in the process; we run the risk of focusing on the subjects and mastering what to think at the expense of learning how to think. We—and I mean everyone involved in the education of a child: parents, teachers, administrators, and the child—run the risk of just wanting to know what is going to be on the test.
On November 18, 2021, Trinitas Christian School and its parents celebrated three new inductees into The National Honors Society (NHS). While being inducted into NHS is no simple academic feat, remember that NHS and many other academically prestigious awards are not exclusively Christian by any means. As a matter of fact, in many educational settings, when students pursue the type of academic success that qualifies them for the NHS, merit scholarships, and the like, their pursuits are often carried out in fierce competition with their classmates, producing academic pride, and result in an exaltation of self. However, in a Christ-centered education like that which is offered at Trinitas Christian School, we endeavor to pursue academic excellence in the following ways:
On Thursday, October the 20th at 7 pm, Trinitas will be screening selections from the documentary “The Miseducation of America” at The REX theatre. Free tickets for the evening are available here. The highlight of the evening will be a special guest appearance of David Goodwin, president of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools. Along with Pete Hegseth of FOX News, David coauthored The Battle for the American Mind, the book which led to the creation of the documentary.
Something new and exciting debuted at Trinitas this fall. All logic and rhetoric school (grades 7th-12th) students and faculty members gather together during first hour on Fridays to learn, discuss, and pursue wisdom together across a broad range of topics. Even parents are welcome to participate in what we are calling Schola Seminar.
In his book Norms and Nobility, David Hicks advocates for a return to a dialectical approach to education. Especially effective in the context of teachers and students learning together, dialectical education requires learners to commit to certain positions in order to test those commitments against experience, established wisdom, and ultimately, the truths of Scripture. Often utilizing primary sources and Socratic questioning, this approach to learning fosters moral and intellectual growth in participants.
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.
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.
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.