Jason Van Boom interviews author and educator, C. Derick Varn, about the with the college admissions bribery scandal, and what this tells us about trends in higher education today. How does modern education compare to the medieval university? Is there value in elite education? What is a meritocracy? What does it mean for a student to teach himself? How has our system of university degrees developed since the Middle Ages, and is it still viable? These are some of the many questions addressed in this episode.
“…a lot of parents with traditional Christian values are increasingly unhopeful about being able to pass those values on to the next generation… And one of the things we’ve noticed is that when parents feel pessimistic about their chances of success, the temptation can be to take short-cuts and to settle for getting our children to assent to the beliefs and lifestyle choices that reflect our values without actually helping them to develop the type of critical thinking and thoughtful disposition that’s necessary for them to really make those values their own. It’s a lot easier to settle for the intermediate goal of just getting our children to tick the right box, to parrot back our traditional values, instead of actually inculcating within them the type of attentive and thoughtful and engaged and reflective disposition that’s necessary if those values are going to become part of who they are. And so essentially, we develop a kind of tribalism where we make the children feel that it’s not okay to question the tribe, or we may use control and manipulation to shut down critical discussion. And of course, then what happens is that the children go away to college and become exposed to another tribe – say, something like social Marxism – and because they haven’t been taught to ask questions, they just become like sheep to the slaughter.”
What is classical education? How can the liberal arts fortify children against anxiety, depression and addiction? What was Charlotte Mason’s contribution to classical education? These are some of the questions that Robin and Jason explore with this week’s guest, Michael d’Esterre. Michael is a clinical social worker in Spokane Washington, who is turning to the liberal arts to find answers to some of our society’s most pressing problems, including mental disorders and addiction.
During this season of Lent, I have thought more than once about the spiritual value of struggle. The Church would not have given us an entire season devoted to struggling if it were not appropriate to view struggle in a positive light.
Not everyone agrees that struggle is good. In my Touchstone article The Cross of Least Resistance, I quoted a number of influential evangelical leaders who taught that the presence of struggle in a person’s spiritual life is a sure sign that something is wrong. This present article will not attempt to expose the hermeneutical and exegetical errors in the opinions of these false teachers (for that, see here and here and here). Instead, I want to look at the question of struggle from the perspective of cultural anthropology. But first, why cultural anthropology?
Jason and Robin are joined by Keith Pimental to discuss tribalism. They explain what tribalism is and why it’s a problem in America today. During this conversation you will learn what parents and educators can do to develop critical thinking among the youth, what the difference is between critical thinking and wisdom, and why critical thinking by itself is not enough for human flourishing.
What happens when parents and politicians settle for intermediate goals without giving attention to the long-term end of human flourishing? What is the culture-wide impact of relativism? What happens when we neglect the importance of history and eternity? And what is “methodological Machiavellianism”? These are just some of the questions that Robin and Jason discuss in this episode with their guest from Portugal, Keith Pimental.
Once Albert Einstein was traveling on a train from Princeton when the conductor came down the aisle punching tickets. When the conductor reached Einstein, the great physicist reached into his vest pocket, but couldn’t find his ticket. So he reached into the pockets of his pants, but still he couldn’t find the ticket.
The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, it’s ok. I know who you are.”
As if not hearing these words, Einstein continued searching for the missing ticket. As he opened his briefcase to look inside, the conductor said again, “Dr. Einstein, we all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Please don’t worry about it.”
Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets, but behind him he could see the scientist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for the missing ticket.
Rushing back to him, the conductor said, “Please, please Dr. Einstein, do not worry. I’m sure you bought a ticket. We know who you are and really, it’s no problem.”
Einstein stood up, looked the conductor in the eye and replied, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I do not know is where I am going.”
In this video Jordan Peterson makes some trenchant observations about the purpose of university education.
I don’t agree that articulated speech is the most powerful human good. I think humility is the most powerful human good. But I do agree with the high premium Peterson places on articulation and the role it can play in helping to eliminate suffering. I was particularly struck by his comment, “Burden yourself with so much responsibility that you can barely stand, and then you’ll get stronger trying to lift it up.”
Here is a FREE interactive lesson from the Masters course I wrote, which is about to launch at Central Michigan University, Argosy University, Antioch University, Benedictine University and Valparaiso University. This course is for the professional development of teachers, who can gain graduate credits when they enroll to take it. This free interactive lesson offers an overview of the research that prompted me to write the course.
Update: since writing the post below, all spots in the first run of the course, taught by John Adams, are now full. Interested parties can register for the second run beginning December 4th and taught by Julie Gold.
Teachers wishing to qualify for pay increases by gaining graduate level credits now have the perfect opportunity. On September 25th, the Idaho-based education company, The Connecting Link, is launching their online course “Mindfulness in the 21st century Classroom” for the professional development of teachers. This Masters level course is being taught by educational psychologist John Adams and is being accredited through Argosy University, Antioch University, Benedictine University, Valparaiso University and Central Michigan University. It is designed to give educators at all levels an overview of recent research on mindfulness practices. Even better, the course provides step by step guidance on how to integrate mindfulness practices into the classroom.
If you’re interested, here are some links you may want to check out:
- For a free lesson, drawn from the material of the course, see ‘Free Mindfulness Lesson for Teachers!‘
- For a detailed syllabus of the course, visit TCL’s ‘Online Participant Syllabus‘.
- To learn more about why mindfulness is important for teachers and how it’s being used in the classroom, see my article ‘Mindfulness: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Classroom.’
- To learn more about John Adams, the instructor of this course, click here.
- To register a place in the upcoming course, click here. (Right now TCL is running a “Back to School Savings” special of $100 off!)
- For a promotional flier advertising the course and giving details about the special savings, click here.