Dr. Anika Prather Returns to the Symposium Stage

Great Hearts Institute February 6, 2024

Anika Prather

Dr. Anika Prather will make her return at the 2024 National Symposium for Classical Education, hosted by the Great Hearts Institute on March 20-22 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

In 2022, Dr. Prather presented an enlightening keynote address on “The Black Tradition of Artistic Expression of Classic Literature”. The Symposium is an annual conference that brings scholars, school leaders, teachers, and parents into conversation to enrich and deepen each other’s understanding of the liberal arts in K-12 classical education.

Prather, the founder of The Living Water School and co-author of The Black Intellectual Tradition, will be leading two insightful workshops, The Revolution of Great Conversations and Everyone Come and Feast, an educational accessibility workshop about changing our perspectives on making classical education diverse, and instead of welcoming diverse human experiences to be in conversation with the classical tradition.

Dr. Prather shared her thoughts about how classical education connects to the black community through drama and the arts. She explained that the curriculum in most schools does not reflect the story of a black student. Students of color have to wear a mask to survive and because of this mask, they have a sense of feeling unseen. They have to live in double consciousness.  She described how a black student often feels disconnected from classical literature because it is typically not their story being told. This is where drama and the arts come into play. By tapping into students’ desire to dramatize and act out, educators can connect students to literature in a meaningful way.  It transcends being a white story or a black story and takes on the life of the human story.  Dr. Prather made a statement that resonated with me on many personal levels. She charged that, “Classical education is the philosophy. It is the foundation. Drama is the tool to welcome everyone to the space.”

Dr. Prather explained that when you introduce drama and theater, the mask comes off for everyone. It’s a relief, an enlightenment, and a hope. She continued that art is cross-cultural.  It quite simply brings people together. The literature, pageantry, and dramatizations of a production offer ways for everyone to connect to the human stories being performed. Dr. Prather explained that drama can give a voice to what we feel.  It’s like therapy. It is a human instinct to mimic, which in turn helps us know who we are.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from Dr. Prather along with and other inspiring and informative speakers on March 20-22, 2024 at the Phoenix Convention Center, where they will each be giving their unique talks during the National Symposium for Classical Education. Registration is NOW LIVE!


Speakers at the Classical Education Symposium

The Symposium will focus on renewing the Great Conversation concerning great works and perennial ideas. This year we will underscore the importance of teaching and modeling the conversations that lead to insight–among colleagues, between teachers and students, with families, and across our communities. At a time when our society most needs genuine dialogue, classical schools provide a sanctuary of genuine civility. Join us to discover how classical education embodies the good conversations, providing both the means and the model for a more civil society.

In the meantime, enjoy Dr. Prather’s entire keynote address here:

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