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Article

Introduction to the Series

by Michael Moynihan

Introduction to the Series

The classical liberal arts education movement is growing and vibrant. Over the past several decades, new secondary schools and homeschooling cooperatives striving to offer an education that engages with the best in our tradition have emerged throughout the United States and beyond. There are professional associations and publishing companies that support these new schools and homeschool families. There are even college programs geared toward training educators in the liberal arts tradition. The progressive model of education represented in most public schools and many private schools is no longer the only...
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Video

A Lecture on Teaching Sovereign Knowers

featuring Michael Moynihan

A Lecture on Teaching Sovereign Knowers

A video of Mr. Moynihan’s lecture, Teaching Sovereign Knowers, from the 2024 Teaching Vocation Conference. 

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Essay

Part 1: The Problem of Agency

by Michael Moynihan

Part 1: The Problem of Agency

In this first part of the series, Mr. Moynihan examines the roots of our current cultural moment, diving into what he calls the “problem of agency”. In the essay, he first offers a historical analysis of how we arrived at our current intellectual and moral landscape. Next, he articulates how our culture informs our understanding of freedom. And, lastly, he ties his historical and philosophical arguments to the current state of students today–and why this matters for how teachers teach.

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Essay

Part 2: Intellectual Virtue and Personal Sovereignty

by Michael Moynihan

Part 2: Intellectual Virtue and Personal Sovereignty

Having examined our current cultural moment, in this second installment Mr. Moynihan dives into two twin vices which, mutually feeding into each other, plague modern man: acedia and curiositas. He also considers studiousness, the virtue that combats these vices. And lest we, who love books both good and great, too quickly dismiss these vices as problems far from our own sensibilities, Mr. Moynihan’s essay challenges those who are classically-minded to consider the ways that even classical curricula and great books programs can fall prey to theses perennial vices. Drawing on Newman’s understanding of the philosophic outlook, Michael helps us to see that the great books, though good, are alone not good enough.

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Podcast

Freedom in Education

featuring Michael Moynihan

Freedom in Education

Further developing ideas presented in the written portion of this series, Mr. Michael Moynihan discusses freedom in education. Michael traces the development of our philosophical understanding of freedom through the centuries, starting with the Greeks and moving into the modern age. Next he presents the Christian ideal of freedom as a resolution and expansion of these conflicting understandings, along with some implications of this new freedom for our work in the classroom.

Teaching Sovereign Knowers

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This collection examines how a curriculum is delivered and received. It is about teaching in such a way the student becomes engaged in learning, that he becomes what Walker Percy calls a “sovereign knower.” The content of the collection will be released serially. Following an introductory piece, the written portion of this collection will be divided into four parts. Complementing the written portion will be a series of podcasts, in which we discuss segments of the series in greater depth. In the first part, we will examine the roots of our current cultural moment, diving into the problem of agency. With this frame in mind, we will consider the practicalities of teaching in a way that fosters agency in our students. The third part will discuss the need for an integrated education, one that helps students develop intellectual virtue and contributes to the formation of what St. John Henry Newman called a “philosophic outlook”. Lastly, the fourth part will offer practical guidance to those discerning the professional vocation of teaching. This section will also provide ideas for how to approach the first day, week, month, and year of teaching.