Actually teaching CONTENT

The notable scholar E. D. Hirsch is offering a radical new proposal:  That schools actually teach CONTENT.  Ever since Dewey, the assumption has been that schools don’t need to teach knowledge; rather, they should teach processes.   (Classical education, of course, teaches both.)   Here Hirsch shows how the efforts to teach reading, as in No Child Left Behind, are failing. Gaining comprehension in reading, according to the research he cites,  involves building upon other KNOWLEDGE of what the reading is about.  You can’t just teach comprehension as a process.

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  • Thanks for posting this article and the next one on critical thinking. I’m in my first semester at seminary and I’m struggling to understand much of what I’m reading partly because its all new to me. So these articles encourage me to keep reading and become more familiar with the material. Hopefully that will help the comprehension to go a little more quickly. This quote from the article was particulary helpful:

    “Language comprehension is a slow-growing plant. Even with a coherent curriculum, the buildup of knowledge and vocabulary is a gradual, multiyear process that occurs at an almost imperceptible rate. The results show up later.”

    It may be imperceptible, but it’s real, right? With diligence, the results do show up. Thanks again.

  • Thanks for posting this article and the next one on critical thinking. I’m in my first semester at seminary and I’m struggling to understand much of what I’m reading partly because its all new to me. So these articles encourage me to keep reading and become more familiar with the material. Hopefully that will help the comprehension to go a little more quickly. This quote from the article was particulary helpful:

    “Language comprehension is a slow-growing plant. Even with a coherent curriculum, the buildup of knowledge and vocabulary is a gradual, multiyear process that occurs at an almost imperceptible rate. The results show up later.”

    It may be imperceptible, but it’s real, right? With diligence, the results do show up. Thanks again.

  • Prof. Veith, could you briefly define what you mean by “classical education”? I have one idea of what this term means in my head, but I’d like to make sure that this term is clearly defined for all.

    (My idea is summed up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_education_movement .)

  • Prof. Veith, could you briefly define what you mean by “classical education”? I have one idea of what this term means in my head, but I’d like to make sure that this term is clearly defined for all.

    (My idea is summed up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_education_movement .)

  • That’s a pretty good account, Robert. Another term for classical education is “liberal arts.”

  • That’s a pretty good account, Robert. Another term for classical education is “liberal arts.”