What is Classical Education — Definition for my Grad School Colleagues

Music and dance as well as fine art are all part of the classical education tradition.

I was asked in online grad school for a quick definition of what classical education is.   I paused for a moment, then thought: wait!  I can do this.  And here’s my response.

What is classical education? Well that is the $64,000 question …

I will say that classical education emphasizes literature and history that is considered excellent over time, and also certain pedagogical methods that are actually truly ancient such as memorization of poetry and speeches, live performance of drama, and ancient language study especially Latin. There is a focus on chronological history, and great books. Many classical programs include the ancient subjects of music, fine arts and dance. The result of this education plan has been high achievement for students across a wide variety of abilities and backgrounds. Although classical education has been at times misused and misunderstood, so that people often think of it as exclusive or repressive, as I understand it, it is a humanistic and progressive method of education.

3 thoughts on “What is Classical Education — Definition for my Grad School Colleagues”

  1. Hi! I was a student at liceo classico, in Italy. We studied Greek and Latin, grammar, vocabulary, syntax and pronunciation along with translation. After the first two years focusing on language, we studied authors: Euripide, Aristofane, Eschilo, Catullo, Cicerone, Oratio, Ovidio, Tacito and many more.
    Then we studied philosophy, from its beginning in the ancient Greece, until the contemporary age.
    We studied the Italian language and literature, as well as History, from Homo Sapiens Sapiens until the ’90s.
    We studied History of Arts, from the rupestrian pictures until present.
    It was a hard kind of studies and subjects such as Maths and Physics were considered less prevalent, but we had to study them anyway, as well as Biology and Chemistry. A very demanding school, based on knowledge more then competence and skill.

    1. Thank you for all this information Guilia! My daughters attended school in Roma back in 2000 but we went home before it was decided which high school they would go to. But of course, I would have wanted them to study at the Licio Classico as well.

      I wonder if you ever saw that movie Notte Prima degli Esami?

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