In the best classical schools, students are immersed in a curriculum that is both deep and wide. They study Latin, Ancient Rome, Shakespeare, astronomy, trigonometry, and all sorts of wonderful things.
But the books don’t teach themselves. It takes an educated and engaging teacher to bring them to life. That’s why teacher training–not just in the curriculum, but in the principles of classical pedagogy–is so important.
But there’s one other ingredient: the students themselves. If something is going to be learned, it’s the student who’s going to do it. Even the most excellent curriculum and the most excellent teacher cannot educate a student who doesn’t want to learn, or who doesn’t know how to learn.
We have to learn how to be students, and my favorite book on that subject is Study is Hard Work, by William Armstrong. Except for its title, the book is a welcoming introduction to the habits and skills that make someone a learner. Here’s a glimpse of the table of contents:
The book is excellent for middle and high school students to work through on their own, and many of the chapters could be used by a teacher of upper elementary-aged students. It’s short, readable, and practical.
Study is the total of all the habits, determined purposes, and enforced practices that the individual uses in order to learn. … The purpose of this book is to help you study more efficiently. It will aim to acquaint you with the skills and experiences that will make your study more profitable.Introduction to Study is Hard Work
Study is Hard Work can be purchased here.