John Taylor Gatto’s 14 Themes of the Elite Private School Curriculum

John Taylor Gatto’s 14 Themes of the Elite Private School Curriculum (as listed in part in The Ultimate History Lesson)

 

1. A theory of human nature (as embodied in history, philosophy, theology, literature and law).

2. Skill in the active literacies (writing, public speaking).

3. Insight into the major institutional forms (courts, corporations, military, education).

4. Repeated exercises in the forms of good manners and politeness; based on the truth that politeness and civility are the foundation of all future relationships, all future alliances, and access to places that you might want to go.

5. Independent work.

6. Energetic physical sports are not a luxury, or a way to “blow off steam,” but they are absolutely the only way to confer grace on the human presence, and that that grace translates into power and money later on. Also, sports teach you practice in handling pain, and in dealing with emergencies.

7. A complete theory of access to any place and any person.

8. Responsibility as an utterly essential part of the curriculum; always to grab responsibility when it is offered and always to deliver more than is asked for.

9. Arrival at a personal code of standards (in production, behavior and morality).

10. To have a familiarity with, and to be at ease with, the fine arts. (cultural capital)

11. The power of accurate observation and recording. For example, sharpen the perception by being able to draw accurately.

12. The ability to deal with challenges of all sorts.

13. A habit of caution in reasoning to conclusions.

14. The constant development and testing of prior judgements: you make judgements, you discriminate value, and then you follow up and “keep an eye” on your predictions to see how far skewed, or how consistent, your predictions were.

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