From the Editor

Winter 2018 Issue


Is there anything more central to classical education than conversation? We talk of using Socratic dialogue in the classroom; we teach our students to debate (formally and otherwise); and we value the ability to ask good questions above almost any other teachable skill. In fact, a young person who can converse competently—respectfully yet curiously—with anyone is like the holy grail of the classical renewal: evidence that we’re on the right track. As teachers, I think we often judge our students, our classrooms, and ourselves based on the quality of the conversations we’re having, sometimes without knowing we’re doing it. 

So, given the interest in the concept, we thought we should dedicate an issue of FORMA to it. In the following pages you’ll see the theme presented in a couple of different ways: You’ll find advice for how to conduct good conversations with students, both in the home and in the classroom, as well as conversations with interesting, inspiring, and important people.

The truth is, a really delightful conversation is hard to beat. We chatted with Wendell and Tanya Berry at the kitchen table in their Kentucky home. We chatted with Emily Wilson and Sarah Ruden, two of the most accomplished and imporant classicists in the world today. And along the way we were reminded that without collaboration with like-minded partners, this renewal would probably a dead end. 

We’re not here to talk at you; we’re here to chat with you. So thanks for reading, and we look forward to conversing soon, online or at an event or, as we did with Wendell Berry, maybe even via good old snail mail.

- David Kern, Managing Editor