Education is Formative

From “A Reading Course in Homeric Greek Book II”. This is from the last lesson, and a long section. I’ve shortened it a little because I love the overall picture it presents. Education isn’t about the facts you learn – it’s who you become. I read somewhere recently that your education is what is left after you forget everything they tried to teach you.

For a great many of you, probably, the end of this course marks also the end of your study of Greek, either because you will not continue your schooling or because of the pressure of other necessary courses and credits. In a few years you may have forgotten almost all the Greek forms and vocables you now know. Yet, we believe, the time and work you have given to Greek has been eminently worth while. The course you have now completed has been so constructed that it is not merely a preparation for further Greek to follow, but is a complete and self-sufficient course in itself. It has been built to put within your reach all the advantages and values that are usually considered to be found in a complete Greek course. It is now up to you to preserve and strengthen the mental habits and attitudes that you acquired in the study of such a language and literature.

We hope, for example, that you are able now to read more exactly, with more understanding and enjoyment than you could before. … In your Greek course you have been practiced thousands of times in the process of reading — in careful attention to the meaning of words, their exact inter-relationships, the harmony and force of their arrangement, the logic, truth, and beauty of what they say. …

It is our hope, too, that you have acquired at least the beginnings of some interest in and liking for better literature. … Whether you take further schooling or not, whether you take any more Greek or not, you should try to keep your mind and heart on a similarly noble plane of human thought and feeling.

As a final point, we might mention our hope that in this course your sense of human values has been deepened and sharpened, that you have grown in understanding and sympathy, that certain ideals of character have suggested themselves to you.

This book was published in 1946. Oh, and I haven’t done the whole course – only a bit of the first book a few years ago. I was browsing different Greek books and trying to see what the goal of each course was, so I could choose the best one for myself and the kids.

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1 Comment

  1. Cindy

    This is wonderful. I firmly believe that the value of learning these things goes far beyond what we remember.


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