Education and Intellectual Wisdom

Several critical intellectual skills that teachers don't often think to model for their students or even attempt to inculcate:

●the way to discern the fundamental human questions that lie beneath a text

●the way to discern between primary, secondary and tertiary matters and to maintain those distinctions

●the way to listen to the tone of an argument and to take that tone appropriately into account in giving an assessment

●the way to bring aesthetic sensibilities to bear upon any object of inquiry

●the way to attain knowledge through belief and to know what kind of knowledge that is

●the way to practice the “willing suspension of disbelief”

●the way to translate between different authors (i.e Calvin and Aquinas, Locke and Rousseau, or Hegel and Descartes), between different disciplines (i.e philosophy, theology, and poetry), or even between different fields (i.e. sociology and theology, poetry and science, or mathematics and philosophy)

●the way not only to distinguish between the True, the Good and the Beautiful but also to listen to their essential harmony

●the way to convince yourself to care about everything and anything

●the way to adjust even the base of an intellectual structure without toppling the whole structure

●the way to understand, order and direct your emotional responses to texts, authors and ideas

●the way to understand and work with the differences between organic and mechanical systems

●the way to understand the complex interactions between instinct, experience and knowledge

Any other intellectual skills you wish your teachers would have modeled or attempted to inculcate?


Janine the Bean said...

Let's see...

I wish I had learned ANY of this in high school.


JPB said...

Oh, I don't think I learned any of it in high school.

Most of these are still in process, honestly.

But I think they can be suggested in high school and I don't think any of these were ever even suggested to me. I don't think I was ever even called on to think about education in these terms or anything close to them.

Jen said...

Well, it's official. I'm not an intellectual. (Like that comes as a surprise to anyone who knows me!)

The Six of Us said...

Jen, I think you probably follow more of these in your homeschooling than you give yourself credit for!

I think I may print these and put them in a prominent place in my home school notebook.

Reading this brings to mind not intellectual knowledge but maturity.

Is it possible to learn? I am not so sure. I think it is acquired.

JPB said...

I think it's not something that can be 'taught' in the conventional sense but I think you can structure an 'education' in such a way that things like this are the real aims of your education, not the mere acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Janine the Bean said...

I think this is the problem. They weren't even SUGGESTED to me.

Probably the one thing I walked away from high school with was this:

Learn what your teacher is looking for as far as answers.
Give them those answers.
Get good grades.
That's it.

Now, thankfully, I learned a bit more at OSU...but not really but from a couple of really good profs.

I say brother, some of these are things that I want to keep in mind as I take on the job of schooling our boys and as I myself think about how I listen, read, process, and think about the information and knowledge I continue to accumulate in this life.

Mainely Me said...

Could you possibly put together an "Education and Intellectual Wisdom for Dummies" packet for me? I missed pretty much all of what you are talking about.

JPB said...

Hmmmm ... I don't think anyone would be a "dummy" for not getting this, but it might be VERY fun to give examples of each.

Why don't I post them one at a time and people can give examples! That would be fun.

Janine the Bean said...

Sounds fun. Do it.

The Six of Us said...

Looking forward to it!


This was my education, particularly in English class. My father was my teacher, and he knows how to do all these things.