Level 7 Liberal Arts Course: Classics of Christendom for 2018-2019

A note about the Level 7 Course from Academic Director, Adam Lockridge:

I wanted to write a note inviting any who have completed Level 6 (both Greek and Roman years) to enroll in the Level 7 Liberal Arts courses (Medieval History and Literature), offered jointly with Scholé Academy. 

I have had a couple of questions from parents about the Level 7 course for next year, and an early version of the course page stated that Level 7 would not be offered (we have since updated the description).  If you have not yet seen the current course description, I would encourage you to do so. 

http://www.raphaelschool.org/core-liberal-arts-curriculum/level-7

What will change because of the partnership with Scholé Academy?  In short, the content and goals of the course will remain largely the same (I have never taught the exact same course twice), while I may make some minor adjustments in the area of formal feedback and assessment. Also, students can now take History and Literature as separate courses, and classes will meet for longer sessions two days per week (rather than four).

Working with Scholé Academy will help me as a teacher to continue a restful approach to the study of classics while making modest refinements in the way I approach assessment, feedback, and accountability.  These improvements are ones which I regard as important and desirable for High School level students, so these are not concessions or change in our philosophy of education, but they are steps in the direction of helping better prepare our students for more formalized expectations in university and the workplace.

Regarding the statement on the course description about a “broader Christian perspective” (see course description), I want to remind families that St. Raphael School has always been open to students who are not Orthodox.  In the Medieval course we deal with many topics that could be considered controversial--Islam, Iconoclasm, the Great Schism, the Reformation, and so on.  

I have and will continue to teach based on the assumption that, while I am an Orthodox teacher, I must comport myself in a way that is hospitable to those who do not share all my convictions.  I think balance is key: faithfulness in communication and charity for all is the delicate balance we always must walk, and I believe my past students would agree that I strive to offer the most charitable interpretation of ideas and events, even if I disagree with their conclusions or question their motives.  Inviting a broader Christian audience into my course is not a change in policy or curriculum so much as it is a change in strategy that I believe will better achieve the goals of our school. 

However (and this is a crucial caveat), I feel that I must teach in a program where I can be who I am as a teacher. In many schools it is assumed that one must check his faith at the door or pretend to be a neutral bystander, and that often leads to sterile and uninspiring instruction.  I have utmost confidence that Schole Academy is a place where I can serve a wider Christian audience while being true to my identity as an Orthodox Christian teacher.   I can pray before class, and I can be open about my faith, and I will encourage all my students to be themselves, even as I pray that we would all become more of who God made us to be.

I would add that I believe this new strategy will be beneficial for St. Raphael’s high school students as well.  Taking a course alongside peers from other Christian confessions will gently broaden their horizons and help them learn to dialogue with students who are more representative of North American Christianity.

I am very much looking forward to teaching these courses next year and hope you will consider enrolling.  

Peace in Christ,

Adam Lockridge