Classical education movement  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Classical education movement advocates a form of education based in the traditions of Western culture, with a particular focus on education as understood and taught in the Middle Ages. The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus Capella, and systematized during the Renaissance by Petrus Ramus. Capella's original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach all human knowledge. The term "classical education" has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages. In the 20th and 21st centuries it is used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program. The University of Pennsylvania seal (1894) depicted the trivium as a stack of books providing the foundation for a quadrivium of mathematics, natural philosophy (empirical science), astronomy, and theology.

There exist a number of informal groups and professional organizations which take the classical approach to education seriously, and who undertake it in earnest. Within the secular classical movement, in the 1930s Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins set forth the "Great Books" of Western civilization as center stage in the curriculum for a classical education. Also some public schools, primarily charter schools, have structured their curricula and pedagogy around the trivium and integrate the teaching of values (sometimes called "character education") into the mainstream classroom. Within the classical Christian education movement, the Society for Classical Learning, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, and the CiRCE Institute play a leading role.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Classical education movement" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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