Many history courses are wrapping-up their Contemporary American History sections outlining recent conflicts. These courses are covering the background, political players, and repercussions of war and social conflicts. Where student's pencils feverishly take notes on the history in preparing for the test, Hillcrest's history class is in debate mode, unveiling the result of Hillcrest's educational approach.
Junior John Vall confidently walked to the podium where the day before three other students stood in sequence to present their case for addressing the Vietnam war. John's speech followed suit with the structure of the other students'; an explanation of the conflict, recounting how Vietnam grew to have the conflict that threatened more than their small island. From there, John outlined a solution he researched the political players at the time were considering. His points were clear and decisive, a winsome solution that would convince most. However, when John finished his lecture the teacher opened up a five minute debate session. John's friends in the class quickly attacked his reasoning, pulling out facts from other conflicts in history that stood in opposition to John's solution. John patiently heard their concerns, noting their points before outlining how they were misguided in how this conflict would unfold.
This is the rhetoric aspect of Hillcrest's educational approach. The goal is to teach students how to learn, guiding them to build reasoned ideas that are founded in truth. From there the students work to build a logical defense for their ideas. This history lesson wasn't just about the Vietnam war, it was a discipline in having civil discourse and friendly debate, something the world is struggling to do. It may be because the world hasn't been educated in how to have a civilized discussion. Teaching students how to learn and have dialogue is one of the many significant outcomes of a Hillcrest education.