All in Essays

"Forma” is a Latin word with a range of meanings. Because it is Latin, it sounds good. Because it has a range of meanings, it makes for a good journal name. In our previous issue, David briefly explained some of the reasons we chose this name. I’d like to to use this opportunity to explain it a little more. 

Ideas are spiritual, the food that the soul feeds on, without which it starves, on which its health depends. We are fascinated by the complex relationship between the words “idea” and “form.” At CiRCE, we are concerned that the modern man undervalues ideas and forms because he does not see how they link the temporal and the eternal. 

Four Tips for Cultivating Classroom Conversation (With Some Help from G. K. Chesterton)

Within the Christian classical education renewal, Socratic conversations, seminars, and colloquies are an essential element. At the very least, schools and homeschools all speak of the Socratic approach as a distinctive of the classical approach. Everyone is doing it, everyone is advertising that they do it, and everyone wants to be doing it well. Many of us, then, are in search of tips to make that sort of classroom conversation a bit more, say, conversational. It can be supposed, with reasonable certainty, then, that this is why you are reading this article. Alternatively, you might be reading it in order to find out what foolish things I might say, so that you can kindly correct me. In either case, welcome. 

Is Classical Education Still Possible?

I’m now old enough to look back on over half a century in the world of education as either a student or a teacher.  It’s hard to make this backward glance without cynicism or to look ahead without despair. All this time the trend lines by almost any standard measure bent ever lower and lower, while the language of reform never failed to beat upon the ear. This world of education, and all the reformers in it, seem to divide themselves roughly into two groups: those who believe that in technology, brain research, mega-data, or some research-based breakthrough we will discover new tools and approaches that will revolutionize the way we learn and teach, and those who believe that recovering “the lost tools of learning” will spark another Renaissance and turn those trend lines around.