Archive for classical

Apr
04

Scholar-Teachers

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I minored in history in college, and one of my professors was a real piece of work. The class was called “The Age of Reason,” and we were supposed to be learning about the Enlightenment in the 18th C. However, this professor had dedicated his scholarly life to studying 18th C. French gardens, and that was all – I mean all – he lectured on. He assigned three books (all about French gardens), and gardens were all he appeared to care about. In fact, it was obvious to me that while he loved his subject, he merely tolerated his students. Did you ever have a teacher like that?

Arthur Holmes, in his book Building the Christian Academy, wrote,
If we consider the art or science that is taught, then it is a contemplative life devoted to the truth; but if we consider students and their needs, then it is indeed an active life engaged in the affairs of this world for the common good. It is not a choice between the two, for with a duty to both the discipline and the student, the teacher should in reality be a teacher-scholar.

So which is it: should teachers love their subject or their students? If Dr. Holmes is right, the answer is “yes.”

In the classical Christian vision for education, the teacher is a not simply a technician who has studied the science of pedagogy. Rather, the teacher is a scholar who leads “a contemplative life devoted to the truth.” Should the teacher be skilled in the science of pedagogy? Absolutely. But a teacher’s greatest trait is a love for learning and for truth (historical truth, mathematical truth, language truth, etc.). She shares that love for learning with her students. She is first and foremost a pursuer of truth and of the One who is the Truth.

And of course a classical Christian teacher doesn’t just love his subject; he loves his students. He leads “an active life engaged in the affairs of this world for the common good” – and what greater good is there than training children to live for God? Students are image bearers of the Triune God. They aren’t pupils filling desks, by which a teacher gets a paycheck. Teachers are called to give themselves away to their students, to invest in them, and to approach them as dearly loved children.

Teachers who love their students but don’t love their subject can never lead their students to love learning. Teaching is always incarnational, and teachers are called to model their love for truth before their pupils in order for them to be transformed into their teacher’s image.

Teachers who love their subject but don’t love their students will be distant, harsh, and self-involved. Learning is drudgery when it’s about the teacher grinding through his pet subject or it’s merely about checking off the stuff you have to do to fulfill the class requirements. That drives students away. But love draws them. Relationships are powerful things.

I can still remember those long periods sitting under my French garden professor (I struggle even to remember his name). But let me tell you about Mr. Grove or Mr. Orlofsky or Dr. Lea. They were passionate for their subjects, but they loved me, too (somehow – I don’t think I was very lovable back then).

Teachers at Regents Academy aim to properly balance passion for our subjects and love for our students. The vision for scholar-teachers, with “duty to both the discipline and the student,” is a worthy vision. It is one we are committed to.

Categories : from the headmaster
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Jan
13

Are students Latin?

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The word student is a Latin word. It is 3rd person, plural, present. It comes from the Latin word studeo, studere, studui- to pursue, be diligent in, strive after. Therefore, it can be translated- they strive after, they pursue, they are diligent in.

Categories : Uncategorized
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Nov
17

Extract

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Have you ever had a tooth extracted? The most common definition for extract is- to draw out by effort; pull out. This word comes from the Latin roots ex-, out + trahere, to draw, drag. Looking at the principal parts (traho, trahere, traxi, tractus) it is easy to see where we get the words traction and tractor.

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Aug
25

Conjecture

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The dictionary defines conjecture as guesswork; inferring, theorizing, or predicting from incomplete evidence. The Latin roots are cum, together + jacere, to throw. Therefore the student trained in Latin could easily figure out that conjecture is something that is ‘thrown together.’

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Aug
21

Procrastinate

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Do you ever procrastinate? Then you are saving something pro- for + cras- tomorrow.

Categories : fun with latin
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Aug
01

Exit

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Do you know that exit is a Latin word? It means: he/she/it goes out. It is posted everywhere you go. In Latin many verbs are formed by taking a base verb like go and adding a preposition as a prefix to enhance the meaning. If you want to look it up in a Latin dictionary, see: exeo, exire, exii, exitum. Those are its principal parts.

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Next Friday will be Regents Academy’s  eighth annual Field Day. It is always a day filled with food, frolic, and fun. We have races. We play games. We eat hamburgers. And we even get to have a water balloon fight! But the thing I most enjoy about Field Day is the interaction between grade levels.

We have five seniors this year, and they are our team leaders. The rest of the students in the school have been divided up so that all the grade levels are mixed. And they will do everything together on that day. They will all assemble in the Great Room for a morning devotional and then it’s out to the flagpole to learn the team cheer. Once the teams have been gathered, the competitions begin!

I so enjoy this part. It is so touching to see a softer side of our young men come out. None of them hesitate to hoist a little one on their shoulders so he can see better. This is the day that the big ones forget about math assignments and papers and Latin and Herodotus and speeches and just enjoy those around them. Students at Regents Academy know how to work hard, but they also know how to play hard. And play is never more fun than when it is preceded by hard work.

The best example of what this day means to the little ones is found in the interaction between one of our senior boys and one of our first grade boys. The first grader knew that all the students would be divided up among the teams led by the seniors. So he went to his favorite senior and made a special request to be on his team. When the athletic director was finalizing the list, the senior approached her and asked if the little boy was on his team. He didn’t want to let him down.

When did it become a rule that all teenagers are rude and rebellious? Who decided that all teenagers are self-absorbed? The teenagers at Regents Academy high-five the little ones in the hall all of the time. Every day at lunch one of the little ones runs to one of our high schoolers and shares something important with him without fear of being rejected.

Field Day promotes these relationships. It is more than fun and games. Field Day is the day when those little ones get to spend the whole day with the big kids. And to one little boy, Field Day is the day he gets to spend with his hero.

Regents Academy ninth grader Miranda Kunk recently presented a prose selection called “All the Good Things” by Sister Helen Mrosla at an Open House event. Miranda performed this piece at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) district competition, where she won first place. She went on to the TAPPS state competition and placed fourth.

Miranda’s piece spotlights the fine work all Regents Academy students do from day to day, but her piece especially displays the presence, poise, and excellent rhetorical skill endowed to students through the Regents classical program. Miranda is growing in both wisdom and, as evidenced in this video, eloquence.

Miranda’s teachers join her parents, Michael and Francesca Kunk, in congratulating her.

Categories : rhetoric, TAPPS
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Apr
16

Grounded in the Good Things

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“Our greatest inheritance, the very foundation of our civilization, is a marvel to behold and consider. If I tried to describe its rich legacy with utmost brevity, I should take the Latin word humanitas. It represents in the widest sense, the accumulated harvest of the ages, the fine flower of a long discipline of Christian thought. It is the Western mind of which we ought to turn our attentions to careful study.

“The now frivolously disregarded Trivium — emphasizing the basic classical scholastic categories of grammar, logic, and rhetoric — once equipped untold generations of young pupils with the essential tack and apparatus for a lifetime of learning. These are the very notions that once set acourse the great cultural flowering of Christendom over the past thousand years.

“Indeed, this sort of educational philosophy and methodology is that which steadfastly affirms that every student, every family, every community, and every nation needs to be grounded in the good things, the great things, the true things in order to do the right things.”

John Buchan (1875-1940)

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Apr
13

Visiting Pastor – Dr. Alan Reed

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Dr. Alan Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches, recently visited Regents Academy. He spoke to the students and faculty at the school’s morning assembly. Dr. Reed encouraged the students to avoid the sin of gossip and to use their tongues to glorify God.

Area pastors often visit the Regents Academy campus on Fridays to share a devotional.

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