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Developing Classical Thinkers

  • Raphael and John Singer Sargent | Anthony Esolen & "To Read a Work of Art"

    21 MAY 2024 · In this webinar, Dr. Anthony Esolen examined three seminal works art: Raphael's "The School of Athens" and two paintings from John Singer Sargent's "The Triumph of Religion" with "The Israelites Oppressed" and "The Messianic Era." The beauty we see, hear, or touch has the power to enter our minds and memories more powerfully than do philosophical or political abstractions expressed in words. As teachers, we must remember this, especially when we want to introduce our students to ways of life embodied in another culture. A painting--even the decorated hilt of a sword--can work wonders.  Dr. Anthony Esolen received his A.B. in English Literature from Princeton University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Renaissance English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Esolen has been a professor of literature and humanities for 35 years and is the author or translator of more than 30 books, which include a range of English translations, analyses of culture, literary and Biblical criticisms, meditations on modern education, meditations on the Christian life, and original poetry. Dr. Esolen is a senior editor and regular writer at Touchstone magazine and has published well over 1000 articles in a wide variety of journals. With his wife, Debra, he writes a daily a web magazine, Word & Song, dedicated to language, music, poetry, and classic film.
    40m 30s
  • Great Hearts, Great Recap

    16 MAY 2024 · In this episode, Winston Brady speaks with Heather Bakogiannias, Brittney Massey, and Katherine Greco-Fortney about their recent trip to the National Symposium for Classical Education held in March of 2024 in Phoenix Arizona.  The National Symposium for Classical Education is hosted by the Great Hearts Institute and this year, focused on the theme of "Renewing the Great Conversation." For these classical educators, their highlights from the trip included leadership insights from former prime minister of Australia Tony Abbott, the need for more Socrates and more classical wisdom from Roosevelt Montás, and wisdom on how to deal with (or avoid) social media usage from Jane Austen.  For classical educators, stay tuned to the Great Hearts Institute for more information about next year's conference:
    19m 34s
  • Artificial Intelligence: Yet Another Hurdle for Teachers & Students

    13 MAY 2024 · In November of 2022, OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of answering simple questions from users to writing papers, essays, blogs, and other forms of longform communication–sometimes so well that people cannot tell that the difference between a paper written by a student and one written by a machine. Since then, educators have been divided in their response to ChatGPT: do we embrace this new form of technology and teach students how to use it effectively, or do we encourage students to refrain from using it, even as more and more professionals in a wide number of fields are using chatbots to do their work for them–marketing, insurance, finance, healthcare, and more. But in the field of education, will this form of technology actually deliver on its promises to students. Or, will it be as earlier innovations, like devices in classrooms, that underdelivered on its promises and may have actually impeded student progress? In this panel, classical education leaders Joe Davison (Thales College), Chelsea Wagenaar (Ph.D., Thales Academy Rolesville), Winston Brady (Thales Press), and Matthew Ogle (Thales Academy Rolesville) on the background of ChatGPT, hy students should not use these products, and what these AI-empowered technologies mean for students and educators going forward. In short, this panel of teachers and leaders explained why students should refrain from using artificial intelligence chatbots students in their writing because such programs shortcircuit the valuable process of writing, researching, and ultimately thinking for oneself. This panel was held on April 25, 2024 at the Thales Academy Rolesville campus.
    1h 20m 40s
  • Freedom Maximalist | Interview with Leigh Bortins, Classical Conversations

    7 MAY 2024 · In this episode, Winston Brady speaks with Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations. During the conversation, they discuss her philosophy of education, homeschooling and its relationship to educational freedom, and how to nurture a community of parents and students and orient them to what is good, true, and beautiful.  Leigh Bortins is a nationally acclaimed educator, perhaps best known for her ability to demystify the fundamental tools of learning. As a teacher, author and commentator, Leigh is credited with helping to launch the “home-centered learning” education movement.After earning a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, Leigh worked in the aerospace industry before beginning her work as an educator. She also holds a D.Min. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts. In teaching study skills for 30 years to children and adults, she has written several books including "The Core," "The Question" and "The Conversation," a series which explores the classical trivium from a parent’s perspective. She has also authored complete K-12 curriculum guides for parents and homeschool tutors all across the country. More information about Leigh Bortins and Classical Conversations can be found here:
    18m 17s
  • Tried and True | Interview with Dan Coupland, Hillsdale College

    30 APR 2024 · In today's episode, Winston Brady speaks with Daniel Coupland, author of the new book "Tried & True: A Primer on Sound Pedagogy" published by Hillsdale College Press.  During the conversation, they discuss the parameters of good teaching, the advantages of a seating chart, the need for a small number of fair, rational, and easy-to-enforce rules, and how a great teacher can help create a classroom where students can be their very best.  "Tried and True" is available from Hillsdale College Press here: Dr. Daniel B. Coupland is dean of the Diana Davis Spencer Graduate School of Classical Education and a professor of education at Hillsdale College, and he formerly served as the dean of faculty at Hillsdale. He earned a B.A. in Spanish from Liberty University, an M.A. in Linguistics from Oakland University, and a Ph.D. in Education from Michigan State University.
    45m 24s
  • Ken Pope & the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

    25 APR 2024 · In this episode, Winston Brady speaks with Ken Pope, Vice President for Academic Operations and Strategic Partnerships. In the episode, they discuss the history of Communist regimes and Mr. Pope's experience working in countries such as East Germany that suffered under Communist regimes.  The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is an educational, research, and human rights nonprofit organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. The Foundation was authorized in 1993 by a unanimous Act of Congress signed as Public Law 103-199 by President William J. Clinton on December 17, 1993. Find out more about their work at
    20m 36s
  • The Reality of Communism | Ken Pope, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

    23 APR 2024 · In this presentation, Ken Pope, Vice President for Academic Operations and Strategic Partnerships, addresses the deadly history of Communism. Mr. Pope begins with his own experience in the military serving in West Berlin, addresses the life and writing of Karl Marx, then examines the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century from the Soviet Union onwards. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is an educational, research, and human rights nonprofit organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. The Foundation was authorized in 1993 by a unanimous Act of Congress signed as Public Law 103-199 by President William J. Clinton on December 17, 1993. Find out more about their work at
    1h 3m 47s
  • "Lessons from my Parents: Freedom and Questioning" | Adrian Bejan

    18 APR 2024 · Professor Adrian Bejan traces his approach to science to growing up during a totalitarian Communist regime in Romania during the 1950s and 60s. Dr. Bejan witnessed the destruction of his parents, their generation, and the values they held dear. During this time, he learned to question in silence the difference between the truths spoken at home and the lies that filled the school and the street. In response, Dr. Bejan found his best teachers were his parents and grandparents and today, in honor of them, he teaches students and readers to question everything, from scientific claims to opinions. In this lecture, he illustrates the method with examples from three topics of current interest: hierarchy, diversity, and innovation. Advances come from the few individuals with the courage to ask "Why?" and offer better ideas without fear.  Dr. Bejan is a J. A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University, a notable author, and a leading scientist in the field of thermodynamics. In his work, Freedom & Evolution, Dr. Bejan explores the relationship between freedom and evolution through the lens of physics and thermodynamics and notably grounds freedom in the observable, natural world. This lecture was conducted at Thales Academy Rolesville Junior High-High School on March 8, 2024.
    42m 14s
  • "On Entrepreneurship" with Robert Luddy | March 8, 2024

    11 APR 2024 · Robert L. Luddy is the founder of CaptiveAire Systems, Thales Academy, and Thales College. He is a lifelong entrepreneur and philanthropist and in this lecture, Mr. Luddy examines skills such as alertness, personal integrity, and a willingness to serve the customers he considers essential to success in any entrepreneurial venture. Bob Luddy is the founder of Thales Academy and the President of CaptiveAire Systems, a leading manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation equipment. In 2007, Bob opened Thales Academy, a network of private schools offering a high quality Pre-K-12 education at an affordable tuition. The Luddy Schools are quickly growing, with over 5,000 students enrolled throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Bob is an avid supporter of entrepreneurs and the free market system, and published his book, “Entrepreneurial Life: The Path from Startup to Market Leader,” in 2018. This lecture was delivered live at Thales Academy Rolesville on March 8, 2024.
    37m 53s
  • How to Watch an Eclipse | Robert Luddy, Melissa Svirida, and Winston Brady

    6 APR 2024 · Famously, our school’s spiritual founder, Thales of Miletus, made his reputation as a wise and noteworthy scientist predicting an eclipse.  The event is recorded in Herodotus’ "The Histories" as the armies of the Lydians and the Medes were fighting for control of Anatolia.  Thales predicted an eclipse would happen on May 28, 585 BC, and when the celestial phenomenon took place, the Lydians and the Medes concluded a hasty peace treaty. The event is noteworthy on a number of levels, chief amongst them that the event is one of the earliest events that be dated to the precise day on which it occurred and others celebrate Thales’ achievement as the birth of science. With the eclipse coming up on Monday, April 8, we are releasing this special episode to help students know what an eclipse is, how they form, and how they can watch an eclipse without doing serious damage to their eyes. In this episode, Winston Brady speaks with Robert Luddy, founder of Thales Academy, and Melissa Svirida, a junior high science teacher at Thales Academy Waxhaw, about solar eclipses and how to enjoy them safely.  For students out there, we hope you enjoy the eclipse but be sure to wear the appropriate glasses to ensure you do not do any lasting damage to your eyes! Check out this video from NASA Goddard on making a pinhole projector:
    8m 53s
Developing Classical Thinkers is a classical podcast for classical thinkers, created and supported by the teachers at Thales Academy, a classical school in Raleigh, North Carolina. A Thales Press podcast.

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