This is a misleading excerpt:
Class of 2020, welcome to college… Building a bridge to the 16th century must seem like a perverse prescription for today’s ills. I’m the first to admit that English Renaissance pedagogy was rigid and rightly mocked for its domineering pedants. Few of you would be eager to wake up before 6 a.m. to say mandatory prayers, or to be lashed for tardiness, much less translate Latin for hours on end every day of the week. It would be hard to design a system more antithetical to our own contemporary ideals of student-centered, present-focused, and career-oriented education. Yet this system somehow managed to nurture world-shifting thinkers, including those who launched the Scientific Revolution. This education fostered some of the very habits of mind endorsed by both the National Education Association and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning: critical thinking; clear communication; collaboration; and creativity. (To these ‘4Cs,’ I would add ‘curiosity.’) Given that your own education has fallen far short of those laudable goals, I urge you to reconsider Shakespeare’s intellectual formation: that is, not what he purportedly thought — about law or love or leadership — but how he thought. An apparently rigid educational system could, paradoxically, induce liberated thinking.
I found this passage in Prufrock, a traditionalist conservative literary newsletter. But if the intent, and how could it be otherwise, was to entice me to read the original article, it succeeded brilliantly. I was drawn to the article from which it is drawn out of both a sense of horror and curiosity as to how one might justify such an approach. Read more
- Scott L. Newstok, quoted in Micah Mattix to Prufrock mailing list, August 30, 2016, http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/home/?u=09f1740da57f3d9169001129e&id=e676795940↩