Today I am over at the Scholé Groups Blog talking about one of the central aspects of classical education. Here is an excerpt…
Classical education is not, preeminently, of a specific time or place. It stands instead for a spirit of inquiry and a form of instruction concerned with the development of style through language and of conscience through myth. The keyword here is inquiry. – David Hicks, Norms & Nobility
In David Hicks’s seminal work, Norms & Nobility, he sets out his definition of classical education. In it, he emphasizes one keyword, inquiry. When I first read this, I was surprised at the simplicity of the idea. Could this habit of mind be the central habit for this vast tradition? If it was, I was certainly relieved. I have, as I know others have as well, a tendency to get lost in the lofty and philosophical underpinnings of classical education. I sometimes have trouble getting back to how to walk it out. At the same time, it is the walking it out that is most fulfilling. What is the classical spirit of inquiry? Why is it important? And how do we cultivate it in ourselves and our students?
David Hicks outlines three parts to the classical spirit of inquiry: general curiosity, imagination in forming hypotheses, and method in testing them.
“The first of these is general curiosity, as opposed to the systematic or specific interest of modern science. One does not launch a classical inquiry with a preconceived methodology or from the point of view of an established academic discipline. Consequently, the field is open for all sorts of questions, whether regarding the nature of true happiness, the cause of the Persian wars, or the source of the Nile.” – David Hicks, Norms & Nobility
General curiosity is one of the things that, in my estimation, we are born with as humans. I’m reminded of the verse “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out.” We were made to want to know. The desire runs deep. Many times life and fears can diminish one’s outward expression of general curiosity. Maybe we had parents who dismissed our questions, who ignored us when we wondered about things. Perhaps we were laughed at in school when we asked a question. Maybe our schools bred a culture of being seen and not heard, where we got the sense that questioning was discouraged. Perhaps we are afraid of where the questions would lead. Whatever the reason, sometimes one resists letting the inquiry happen, but we all most certainly wonder, we all have questions, and we all make connections as we read and experience life.
General curiosity is an open and broad interest in life and ideas….KEEP READING.
Expanding wisdom, extending grace,