Category: Education

Teaching Narnia

I’m now a member of a church that has a strong education program. On Wednesday evenings, for an hour and a half each week, I’ve had the joy of teaching C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity (along with my book, America Discovers C. S. Lewis). I’ve now been asked—and have readily agreed—to teach The Chronicles of Narnia. I won’t try to cram them all into one semester; instead, I’ll divide them into a two-semester format, covering the… Read more »

The Loss of History Is Our Loss

I remember it was back around 1980, when I was teaching some high school students, that I first encountered the realization that I was older and they were unbelievably young. What do I mean? I was talking about the JFK assassination and was stunned to learn that they were too young to have had firsthand knowledge of it. Of course, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have understood that ahead of time; after all, even if I’m not… Read more »

American Character: Noah Webster

The name “Webster” sounds familiar to most people. They think for a minute and then say, “Oh, yeah, he’s the dictionary guy, right?” Right. But he’s more than that. Noah Webster is a prime example of someone who exhibits the character trait of diligence. A native of Connecticut  and descendant of Pilgrim governor William Bradford, Webster was raised in the Congregational church, graduated from Yale, and even was awarded a master’s degree—unusual for the time. In 1783, he got the nation’s… Read more »

A Meditation on Knowledge & Wisdom

I spent many years earning a doctorate in history. When I began that quest, I had turned my back on the Christian faith. I wondered if the world of academia could provide the answers. One master’s degree, a multitude of courses, and three comprehensive exams later—all prior to the doctoral dissertation—finally convinced me that the educated elite were just as clueless as the rest of the world. “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater… Read more »

Learning to Love Learning

There are a number of different critiques of the state of American education. Some are most concerned about the lack of discipline in the schools. Others decry the dumbing down of the standards. They point to the decline in scores on standardized tests such as the SAT. A lot of that decline has been hidden by the trick of “centering” the scores. For instance, a 1200 on the SAT today means a whole lot less than it meant in 1963…. Read more »

My Educational Philosophy: A Summary

As part of my tenth-year anniversary of writing Pondering Principles, I share this one again that I first wrote back in 2010. I didn’t change even one word because I still believe everything I wrote here. As a university professor, I think a lot about what I should do in the classroom. What is the proper way to teach? How much do I let my beliefs enter into the subject? One of the biggest problems in many universities is when… Read more »

Teaching Students the Essence of C. S. Lewis

For the third time since my 2014-15 sabbatical and the writing of my C. S. Lewis book, I’ll be teaching the course this fall that I developed out of that sabbatical: “C. S. Lewis: History and Influence.” It was a joy to teach this course the first two times, and I don’t expect it to be otherwise this time. Since I’m a history professor, not English literature, the course has a strong historical component as we work through a number… Read more »