Archive for May, 2015

Why Studying Latin is Important

At GRACE, all 7th grade students take a year of Latin and have the option of continuing to study Latin in grades 8-12.

The following is an excerpt from a larger article titled, Why Studying Latin, More So Than Business, Is Ideal Training for Actually Running a Business, published April 15th, 2015 by Michael Ortner in Knocking Down Doors

First, it [studying Latin] will make you smarter. Seriously. Our intelligence is not set at birth. It is very difficult to learn a rigorous language like Latin and not improve your ability to think logically. The process of learning the rules and formulas literally trains the mind to think in a much more structured, and less haphazard way. Good grammar is the foundation for logic, and the best way to learn grammar is in the context of a highly inflected language such as Latin. Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes – they all studied Latin. It is unlikely that this was accidental. And logical, creative thought is not only valued in the sciences, but highly regarded in business as well. The employee who can identify patterns, find meaning in data, think of new ways of doing things, connect seemingly unrelated ideas – these are invaluable skills that every business needs to thrive. And those skills all start with logical thought.

Will Technology Get Rid of Teachers?

I (Laura) wrote the following email to our GRACE teachers earlier this week:

“There are people who think that technology and/or 21st century teaching practices will get rid of teachers. One of them wrote an article for The Atlantic called The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher a few weeks ago. I kept meaning to write a rebuttal to it, but I think this article on a new school in San Francisco inadvertently addresses the issue. As a school founded by a former Google exec, AltSchool is very tech-heavy. However, tons of technology use doesn’t seem to be getting rid of teachers at all. Instead, teachers’ time has been refocused on writing curriculum and interacting with students in smaller groups or individually.

I share these article with you because I firmly believe that teachers provide something irreplaceable in the classroom. Your content and pedagogical knowledge, as well as your relationships with students, matter! Never worry that we want technology to replace you! We want technology to enhance your instruction.”

Since I wrote that email, I read an article called “It IS About Technology.” While it may sound like I would disagree, I think the article’s great. It adds another dimension to the whole technology/education relationship. The major point of the article: while pedagogy (e.g. teaching skills) is most important, if we care about our pedagogy in the 21st century, it must involve technology. There is no question that our students’ lives include technology. That’s one reason why I love working at a 1:1 school, and especially a 1:1 school that has the proper philosophy on educational technology. We embrace technology, but as part of a whole teaching ecosystem, never forgetting the importance of teachers and relationships.