Trinitas Blog

Setting the Right Markers

Posted by Sean Hadley on Apr 17, 2022 1:00:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Classical Education, True Education, Teaching, Grades, Virtue

Did Jesus Receive Handwriting Grades?

Posted by Sean Hadley on Apr 10, 2022 1:00:00 PM

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.”

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Topics: Blog Posts, Classical Education, True Education, Teaching, Grades, Virtue

Imagine a World Without Grades. You Can Do It If You Try.

Posted by Sean Hadley on Apr 3, 2022 5:35:50 PM

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?

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Topics: Blog Posts, Classical Education, True Education, Teaching, Grades, Virtue

Connecting the Dots

Posted by James Cowart on Feb 14, 2022 1:09:59 PM

Rather than a random group of dots, the various facets of education should connect like a column of ants traversing a picnic blanket.  Last Friday, I had the privilege of watching junior kindergartners retelling four classic fairytales using student narration and finger puppets. Later that evening, I listened to three students present and defend their senior thesis projects. Contemplating these examples drawn from the beginning and end of a Trinitas education is worthwhile for thoughtful parents serious about the kind of education they want for their children.

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Topics: Blog Posts, School Life, Classical Education, Thesis Projects, Public Speaking, Parent Involvement, Virtue

Lessons from a Marshwiggle

Posted by James Cowart on Nov 21, 2021 3:16:49 PM

The topic of discussion for Parent Traditio this evening will be “Raising Readers: Cultivating a Love of Literature in the Home.” One facet of this conversation will be the importance of good literature in the forming of a child’s moral imagination. To illustrate this point, consider the scene from C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair (from the Chronicles of Narnia), where one of my favorite Narnian characters – a marshwiggle – bolding declares his commitment to the truth.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Reading, Virtue

And Piety for All

Posted by James Cowart on Sep 19, 2021 5:07:27 PM

As a father of five, I am greatly concerned with the cultivation of virtue in the hearts of my children. Frequent thought and active parenting has been invested in training my children in honesty, diligence, self-control, and respect. The lack of these virtues is tough to disguise. When children are disrespectful and lazy, succumbing to every desire of their flesh, they create what my mother would refer to as “a scene.” Yet behind the more common virtues, lies one that receives precious little airtime – Piety.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Parenting, Classical Education, Christian Education, Virtue

Pursuing Wisdom

Posted by Sean Hadley on Sep 12, 2021 3:45:15 PM

The pursuit of wisdom consists of basic things: reading boni libris, competing with a charitable heart on the field, turning in commonplace books, parsing Latin and Greek, working out complex Calculus problems, reciting poetry, memorizing Scripture, crafting essays, exercising your vocal cords in choir, and submitting your best art (even if you don’t think you’re much of an artist). Well, maybe it is better to say that these are the concrete ways you will pursue those lofty aims advocated by Aristotle, namely phronesis and techne. Both of them are arts aimed at the cultivation of the soul, phronesis meaning moral virtue, and techne meaning skilled virtue. Morals and skills. Or to use Paul’s language, “by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

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Topics: Blog Posts, Classical Education, True Education, Reading, Virtue

Graduation Address to the Class of 2021

Posted by Colby Gilley on Jun 20, 2021 4:38:34 PM

            Thank you so much for that kind introduction. Before we begin, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the administration and to all the senior class parents for providing me the opportunity to speak to these graduating seniors before you all tonight. And I would be terribly amiss if I did not congratulate you, seniors, on the many accomplishments that have brought you to this very place on this momentous evening. My purpose this evening is two-fold and somewhat paradoxical in nature. On the one hand, my job is to remind you that all of this evening is about you. On the other hand, my job is to remind you that none of this is about you, at all. Like I said, somewhat paradoxical. But there is a method to this madness, and I hope to demonstrate as much over the course of the next few minutes. There are many things I could say to you this evening; in truth, there are many things that ought to be said to you this evening, but that’s what all these good people are for. Lord knows I’ll need the backup. Yes, there are many paths we could tread, but I thought it best to stick to one rather familiar to you, and to me as well. Our progression this evening will follow a sort of timeline: First, we’ll revisit the past, taking great pains to put a very fine point on just what it is that you have been doing here at Trinitas for the past 6, 8, 10—and for some of you—13 years of your life; next, we’ll pause and ponder the precise precipice upon which you are perched, at present; and finally, we’ll look to the future, daring, even, to prescribe what must be next. So, let’s roll back the clock.

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Topics: Classical Education, Alumni, Christian Education, College Admissions, Christian Living, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, Virtue

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