As mentioned previously, I teach homeschoolers in a modified “great books” program. Right now we are reading C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man. It is, in many ways, Lewis argues that contemporary (to him) eduational philosophy makes students adopt two basic assumptions: (1) that the predicates of value refer to internal feelings and not to actual objects and (2) that these emotional states are unimportant. Lewis places himself directly in line with classical ethical formulations and argues that predicates of value are not merely emotional states and that correct emotional responses are essential to being man. “The head rules the belly through the chest,” writes Lewis.

As a student, I was intrigued by the notion of “developing right sentiments” and worked diligently to do so. However, now that I am an educator, I see the challenge quite differently. The task of being a part of this formative process is both daunting and exciting. I am interested in thoughts as to how the modern educator should go about “irrigating deserts,” as I have none.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. GKC

    I think this is at least what is wrong with education, but it is only the manifestation of what a culture without a “church militant” will be bound to look like. It is, afterall, only a problem for those of us, like our hero (the real GKC), are cosmic optimists, believing somehow that human society will be “perfected” (don’t take me too literally)in its participation in the Kingdom of God. So, then, we are left with the question: what hasn’t the church (a grossly vague and loose usage of the term, I know) been doing and what must it concentrate upon in the wake of the cultural forces summarized in this Lewisian abstract?

    So I’m reasking your question at the end and I believe you’re onto the way in which any culture can and does change (either direction, toward the good, or not),i.e. education.

    You ask, “How the modern educator should go about…”
    Well, what do you mean by the Modern Educator? Is this anyone currently involved in education, public, private, sacred/secular? My only thoughts are no dbout overly simplistic to be of help but consist in saying, the government cannot effectively dispense deserts, and that leaves the “private sector” and especially the church. From a secular standpoint this “organization,” functioning properly, is ideal to dispense deserts through its educational structures.

    But can I offer any thoughts for the modern educator within “public education”? Model virtue, go beyond mere requirments in pursuing excellence, don’t be afraid to, within law, exhort students.



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