Explore the tradition of classical liberal arts education and study under expert scholars and practitioners.
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The Academy for Classical Teachers (ACT) provides online enrichment for classical teachers who seek to teach in their classrooms according to the principles of a traditional Liberal Arts Education. ACT is a collaborative initiative of Great Hearts Academies, the Institute for Classical Education, and our partner institutions in both higher education and classical K-12. This year’s courses are designed to help teachers dive deeply into content, with an eye toward both theory and practice. Faculty are drawn from our friends in higher education, expert teachers, and scholars who have chosen to teach within the public K-12 arena because of the unique opportunities it affords.
For further questions, please email the Academy Director, Paul Weinhold at email@example.com
Leader: Jake Tawney, Chief Academic Officer, Great Hearts Academies
When: Asynchronous course available from June 1 – August 31, 2022
In this course, veteran mathematics teacher and leader Jake Tawney provides a clear and engaging introduction to the beauty of Mathematics. This course does not propose a specific curriculum. It does, however, present a list of “those things from mathematics you should have learned but probably didn’t.” In the opening lessons of the course you will hear that truth is effusive. Upon its discovery truth demands to be shared, and the mathematical proof is the medium through which mathematical truth is communicated. There are certainly no results in this course that Jake Tawney claims as his own, and many of the mathematical proofs are centuries old. These proofs represent, in a small way, some of the best that has been said within the discipline of mathematics.
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This course is made available to the Academy for Classical Teachers through a generous partnership with Classical U, an online teacher-training platform that provides a clear path toward mastery for classical educators seeking to understand the classical tradition of education and teach with excellence.
Leader: Dr. Carol Reynolds, Former Associate Professor of Music History, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University.
Dr. Carol Reynolds provides critical context in this course for teaching music classically. She covers a history, perspective and understanding of music that will integrate it with your other studies and unpack its significance for human well-being. Learn how to approach music instruction in ways that will shape and bless your students in this essential course.
Leaders:Andrew Kern, Founder and President of the CiRCE Institute and Dr. Christopher Perrin, Chief Executive Officer, Classical Academic Press
Why are the liberal arts called “liberal?” Why are they called “arts?” How did they originate to be come the core of any “liberal” education? In this course, master classical educator Andrew Kern (along with Christopher Perrin) presents an insightful survey of the seven liberal arts–explaining their origin, history and significance in the classical tradition of education. Both Andrew and Christopher also describe the way in which the liberal arts are the “liberating” arts that foster true human freedom and capacity that equip people for vocations of every kind. Teachers will also enjoy the discussions between Andrew and Christopher as they discuss the meaning and significance of the liberal arts.
Anna Julia Cooper, one of the most prominent African-American scholars in United States history, was an author, educator, and activist who advocated for classical education. This seminar will explore selections from The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper, which is an anthology of all of her writings (including A Voice from the South, poems, and letters not included in her only book. Seminar participants will pursue the question of what can we learn about bringing classical education to diverse students from the philosophy and practice of Anna Julia Cooper. Each session will involve seminar discussion about the readings as a path to discovering the relevance of classical education to the African American community. Further, the seminar will explore the importance of Cooper’s thought today. Through reading and class discussions, we will go on a journey to understand the educational philosophy of this early Black classical educator.
Leader: Dr. Anika Prather, Founder of The Living Water School and Lecturer at Howard University
When: June 27 – July 18, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (AZ), 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (CST)
Text: Cooper, Anna J., Charles C. Lemert, and Esme Bhan. The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper: including A voice from the South and other important essays, papers, and letters. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.
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Study of selections from English poetry, drama, and prose from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Students will closely read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts from the English Renaissance. Our aim will be twofold: (1) to appreciate each text on its own terms and (2) to locate and appreciate philosophical themes of special urgency for the Renaissance era. Authors covered will include More, Wyatt, Surrey, Tyndale, Calvin, Hooker, Hoby (as translator of Castiglione), Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Vaughan, Marvell, and Milton. The course will include a complete reading of Utopia and selections from Paradise Lost.
Leader: Dr. Joshua Avery, Humane Letters Teacher, North Phoenix Preparatory Academy
When: June 27 – July 18, Monday through Thursday, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (AZ), 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm (CST)
Text: Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The 16th and the Early 17th Century. 10th ed. New York: Norton, 2018. (Note that an earlier edition of this book is acceptable.)
Cost: $125 (Graduate credit available by enrolling at the University of Dallas)
This course will examine Tolkien’s theories on story, myth, and fairy tales, and observe how these theories manifest in some of his lesser-known writings. It will also explore the foundations of Tolkien’s own mythical world (his Legendarium). The course will read his essay “On Fairy Stories” as well as excerpts from The Silmarillion, and his short stories “Farmer Giles of Ham” and “Smith of Wooten Major.”
Leader: Dr. Stephen Bain, Humane Letters Teacher, North Phoenix Preparatory Academy
When: June 27 – July 18, Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (AZ), 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (CST)
Texts: Tolkien, J. R. R. “On Fairy-Stories“. Tree and Leaf. HarperCollins Publishers, 2001; Tales From the Perilous Realm. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008; and The Silmarillion. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
This course examines ancient and modern texts of political philosophy to engage numerous debates over the forms of political community. Questions and topics include–but are not limited to–the advantages and disadvantages of different political forms; the underlying motivations for, and dynamics of, various political bodies; the things that hold communities and peoples together; the reasons forms persist, metamorphose, or collapse; and the drive toward human unity or unification. The course is largely based on the work of Pierre Manent, from whom we will read, while also reading from classical authors such as Aristotle, Plutarch, and Machiavelli.
Leader: Dr. Trevor Shelley, Instructor & Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Arizona State University
When: July 5 – 28, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (AZ), 11:00 am to 2:00 pm (CST)
Where: Hybrid Online
Texts: Pierre Manent, A World Beyond? (Princeton U Press, 2013), Natural Law and Human Rights (U Notre Dame Press, 2020), Democracy without Nations? (ISI Press, 2013); Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, Trans. Harvey Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (U Chicago Press, 1998); Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (Signet Mass Market Paperback, 1998); Xenophon, Education of Cyrus, Trans. Wayne Ambler (Cornell U Press, 2001)
Cost: $125 (Graduate credit available by enrolling through ASU)
“There is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to it in virtue of its own nature. This is not the same as any of the so-called special sciences, for none of these others treats of being universally as being. They cut off a part of being and investigate the attribute of this part; this is what the mathematical sciences do, for instance…” (1003a20). The Unmoved Mover. Substance and accident. “All men by nature desire to know.” The Four Causes. Thirty key philosophical terms systematically defined. Theology and “first philosophy’. The foundational text of Western ontology, studied and revered by thinkers from Boethius to Aquinas to Heidegger. Now you tackle it in a month-long seminar on Aristotle’s monumental Metaphysics.
Leader: Andrew Ellison, Executive Director, Great Hearts San Antonio
When: June 6-24, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 to 9:45 am (AZ), 10:00 to 11:45 am (CST)
Text: Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Translated with Commentaries and Glossary by Hippocrates G. Apostle.
“Seek not that your sons and your daughters should not see visions, should not dream dreams; seek that they should see true visions, that they should dream noble dreams” ~ George MacDonald.
Aristotle’s observation that all humans by nature desire to know means, of course, that children often come to class eager for stories that delight, inform, and ennoble. Their curiosity insatiable, their imaginations seeming limitless, children inhabit for a time that magical world of fairy that can be, at some times, fearful and at other times exhilarating. This course will explore the worlds of adventure and peril, good and evil, sadness and hope through staple fairy tales and children’s stories.
Leader: Dr. Kathryn Smith, Assistant Professor of Classical Education, Eastern University
When: June 6-24, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (AZ), 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm (CST)
Texts: Lang, Andrew. The Blue Fairy Book. Racehorse for Young Readers. 2019; Collidi, Carlo. The Adventures of Pinocchio; and Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland.
The contemporary, classical education movement in the United States has taken a keen interest in the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric–the three liberal arts of language that have the potential to clarify our thoughts and refine our ability to express such thoughts in correct, clear, and persuasive words. Among these three arts, logic is perhaps the least examined and understood. In an effort to improve participants’ understanding of logic, the course will study brief selections from Aristotle’s treatises on logic (that are collectively referred to as his Organon) in combination with secondary treatments that provide a synthesis of Aristotelian logic. Moreover, logic is an art (ordered toward making arguments and like), and so we cannot be content merely to know about logic. The course, therefore, also will attend to how to make sound arguments and evaluate others’ argumentation through the completion and discussion of logic exercises. In sum, participants who complete this course will deepen their understanding of Aristotle’s view of logic and improve their ability to fashion definitions, divisions, statements, and arguments and to judge the quality of other’s definitions, arguments, and so forth.
Leader: Dr. Benjamin Beier, Assistant Professor of Education, Hillsdale College
When: June 6-24, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (AZ), 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (CST)
Text: Sullivan, Scott M. An Introduction to Traditional Logic: Classical Reasoning for Contemporary Minds. Second Edition. North Charleston, SC: Booksurge, 2005. Aristotle. Selections in various handouts.
In many ways, school leadership involves a constant exercise in juggling priorities. Like all school leaders, the head of a classical school must think about student achievement, strong instruction, and the strength of the faculty. However, unique foundational considerations also operate in the life of the classical school leader. Where the primary field of study is the life well-lived, human flourishing, and the Good, the school leader must serve as a model of classical ethos, pathos, and logos. Beginning with a brief review of Aristotle’s framework for ethics, this session will look at key areas of school function and the ways in which classical ethics operate, including faculty culture, student discipline, and developing a second tier of leaders on your campus. A focus of our work will be on ways in which leadership, as an activity, might appear to be in tension with key principles of liberal education.
Leader: Helen Hayes, VP of National Leadership Talent, Great Hearts Academies
When: June 6-24, Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (AZ), 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (CST)
Text: Selections from the following texts will be provided: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Plato’s Republic, and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives.
Andrew Zwerneman, President of Cana Academy and author of History Forgotten and Remembered, writes, “As a society, we are increasingly divided from our past, which is a significant part of why we are increasingly divided from one another. To put it another way: There is a real sense in which history has been forgotten; and, having forgotten our past, we have forgotten ourselves.” This two-day master course offers a practical, humane vision for teachers of history seeking to improve their craft.
Leader: Andrew Zwerneman, President of Cana Academy and author of History Forgotten and Remembered
When: June 7 – 8, Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (AZ), 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST)
Texts: Selected readings are included with the course.