There is a tried and true tradition in education known as the trivium. It starts by teaching grammar, helping students understand the fundamentals and basic elements of what they're studying. Then students learn logic, piecing together the basics to form a structure that is definable and operates with purpose. The final stage is rhetoric, the manipulation and exercise of the logic and grammar the students have learned to enable human flourishing.
Last week Hillcrest's Understanding the Times course put a capstone on Principal Isaac's practice of the trivium in class. Sitting opposite each other, the the students popped open their text book and looked into the eyes of their fellow classmates. Principal Isaac gave them instructions to begin explaining the different worldviews to their counterpart in a sequenced and ordered fashion. After two minutes the groups would mix-up, with students venturing to other parts of the classroom to share their knowledge.
Students started by simply explaining the fundamental elements of what makes a worldview. Some started by explaining where mankind came from. Science cannot answer the origins question. Some other theories seem more like science fiction novels than credible answers to the start of the world and the beginning of the human race. Students employed a call for consistency, coherency, and completeness in their explanations, resting in the time-tested belief that there is an all-loving and all-powerful God who created the universe.
In the continual mix-up Principal Isaac worked to make students uncomfortable in the classroom, working to stage a real-world scenario where students would speak with people they hadn't spoken to about important issues like faith, belief, and ultimate meaning. Students quickly sat down and worked through their lessons gained from the class, employing a winsome rhetoric with their classmates as the exercised a spreading of truth that they will take with them to college and the workforce after graduation at the end of the month.