Many people understand that education is in desperate need of reform, but few recognize how radical the reform must be.
What is needed is not a bigger education budget, a stronger teacher’s union, smaller class sizes, or more rigorous testing procedures.
But neither is the solution simply a renewed spirit of intellectualism and mental rigor, or a return to the traditional curriculum of Western civilization and literary classics, or the expulsion of politically correctness from the classroom.
What is needed is a basic, pedagogical revolution—a revolution in the selection of content taught to students, and the method by which that content is presented.
This revolution entails a ruthlessly stripped-down curriculum that includes only that which is indispensable to the child’s basic intellectual development, ridding education of non-essential content that distracts from and dilutes the core material. It entails a vigilant commitment to ensuring that students have a real, grounded, independent grasp of everything they are taught, and are never merely parroting the teacher. It entails a presentation of the material that is always integrated around a definite purpose, with each piece related clearly to the whole, and constant encouragement of the students to seek connections of their own. It entails a continual effort to properly motivate the students, demonstrating the personal value to their own lives of the knowledge they are working to acquire.
Our goal at VanDamme Academy, the proper goal of education, is to foster the conceptual development of the child—to instill in him the knowledge and cognitive powers needed for mature life. Our goal is to take the whole of human knowledge, select that which is essential to the child’s conceptual development, present it in a way that allows the student to clearly grasp both the material itself and its value to his life, and thereby supply him with both with crucial knowledge and the rational thinking skills that will enable him to acquire real knowledge forever after.
This is the ambition upon which VanDamme Academy was founded, and we believe we have made unequaled progress in its achievement—though we still have much to discover and improve.
It is with this spirit that we proudly announce that we are converting our email list into a new, free, weekly e-newsletter: “Pedagogically Correct.” Every week, we will send you a new article about the principles of teaching that we employ at VanDamme Academy, and relay stories about the results we are achieving.
We encourage you to foward Pedagogically Correct to friends, post its contents on your ‘blog, or do anything else you can think of to spread the word about VanDamme Academy and our unique educational philosophy.