CH060: Education Requires Language

Season 10: Classical Thoughts on Why We Teach

It is by means of language that we both procure and use wisdom – for does not thought require language?

So practice in speaking and in using language (today we would add writing as a method of discourse) is of upmost importance not just to learn to communicate effectively with others, but even to be able to understand within our own minds.

None of the things which are done with intelligence take place without the help of speech, but that in all our actions as well as in all our thoughts speech is our guide, and is most employed by those who have the most wisdom.

It is speaking, being able to communicate your knowledge to others, that makes the knowledge useful, that makes it possible to do any good with the gain of it.

Your natural science itself, your mathematics […] do pertain to the knowledge of their professors, yet if anyone should wish by speaking to put these same arts in their full light, it is to oratorical skill that he must run for help.

Language is the basis of wisdom.

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Education Requires Language

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Simple Sanity Saver: Teaching Shakespeare

Though Shakespeare wrote to be performed, there is still great value in reading his plays with their beautiful use of English. However, there’s more than one way to read a text.

Audio + Visual = read along

My favorite way to read Shakespeare with the kids is to give each one his own paperback (multiple copies can be found at the library or any used bookstore usually, or Dover publishes cheap editions without frills) and play an audiobook version while we all follow along. Hearing someone who knows how the lines flow read them helps immensely with comprehension.

If I have an unmotivated or non-reader, I’ll give them a coloring page to keep their hands and eyes busy while they listen to the audiobook. Dover publishes a book of Shakespeare coloring pages, or even a book of plain designs to color in is a good activity for listening times.Having Shakespeare come in through both the eyes and the ears is a great way to foster success and engagement with young students.

Download the lesson plans and memory sheets:

How to have fun with Shakespeare for kids simply and easily, even if you think it's too hard – it's not!
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