In our fast-paced, digital world we have an ocean of information — and misinformation — at our fingertips. An education for the 21st century must give students the ability to develop a keen eye and ear for what’s true and what matters. We could call this critical thinking, but when aligned to the search for truth, the ancients called this form of knowing wisdom.
Socrates said, “Wisdom begins in wonder.” At Great Hearts, we use the Socratic method to unleash our students’ sense of wonder, while simultaneously developing their capacity for deep reflection, problem-solving, and a taste for the true, the good and the beautiful. They contemplate: How does this area of knowledge relate to our well-being? To justice? The common good? How do the means relate to the end?
This form of study is not reserved just for the humanities but also applies to math and science. By first becoming captured by the beauty of mathematics, for instance, students find the eventual application of the subject all the more profound.
At Great Hearts, we believe, too, in technology and its many brilliant applications. However, our students leave their cell phones behind during the day so they can engage in reflection and conversation. We think carefully of when screens are presented so scholars can engage one another face to face first, recognizing the inherent value of the human beings in front of them.
More and more colleges and employers today want graduates and employees who can see the big picture; who can listen, write and speak well; and who have strong character. The value of a classical, liberal arts education stands out today more than ever.