Tuesday, April 13, 2021

John Henry Newman on education

I haven't listened to a lot of podcasts lately, and I also haven't read or heard many things on education lately, but I listened to this podcast by Christopher Perrin (love him!) on Saint John Henry Newman (love LOVE him... my daughter Rosie was born on his feast day, October 9th) and it is so wonderful I have to share. 

Please listen to "John Henry Newman" on the podcast "CafĂ© ScholĂ©" on spotify (or elsewhere): 


These are ideas from John Henry Newman's book, The Idea of the University. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

8,18min: He believed that school should involve nurture. Our schools should be like a nourishing mother, which is what "alma mater" means. Knowing her children one by one, not a manufactory or a mint or a treadmill. 

9,15min: Liberal knowledge. He contrasts that with a purely practical, utilitarian or instrumental view of learning. He thinks liberal knowledge forms human beings to be prepared to serve in all kinds of ways which are difficult to predict. 

11,03min: By focusing on liberal knowledge, we will find a kind of utility that comes about as an indirect result, but we don't seek directly for utility. We seek for the connected view of things, that's the university's direct aim. Practical utility ends up being one of the direct results. 

13,35min: Theology has been called the governess of all liberal arts, or the queen of the sciences. That which brings unity and coherence to them all.

21min: A Christian university is made Christian not so much by its formal teaching of theology, although he thinks it should be present, but by the "ethos", the character, the atmosphere of the place. Above all, the influence of teachers who exemplify, however imperfectly, the Christian ideal. Back again to his comments about how important the relationship between teacher and student is. A relationship which is one of charity, humility, love. 

22min: This liberal education we would seek in a university consists of the knowledge of first principles and relations, rather than mere facts. This is the best preparation for any career. Whose attributes are these: freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation and wisdom.

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