US Educators Strengthening Greek Studies in Schools

“The Examined Life” is a program a growing number of school districts are taking part in  today across the US. Aimed at strengthening Greek studies in the schools, the program is administered by the Newton Public Schools and Brandeis University, both of Massachusetts.

The program’s goals include professional scholarship, development of curriculum materials, and community outreach on the history, culture, and accomplishments of ancient and modern Greece.

The program takes as its theme the Socratic call to living “an examined life.” It asks participants to explore what it means to be human through the lens of Greek antiquity.

The Greek Studies proposal arises from the recognition that Greece’s central importance in the curriculum is being challenged and marginalized in the growing amalgam of recommended subjects.

Although there has been a commitment in recent years to studying the peoples of the ancient world, the powerful legacy of Greece is at times taught superficially or from outdated texts and materials.

In addition, scant attention is paid to modern Greece in the curriculum, yet Greece’s legacy continues in the arts and humanities, as well as in mathematics and the sciences.

“The Examined Life” supports twenty groups of teachers and administrators, called Greek Study Fellows, making it possible for them to meet regularly with outside scholars in a series of seminars.

The program encompasses seminars, workshops, and ongoing discussions of ways to integrate knowledge and teaching; it also includes a study tour of Greece. It also insures the continuation of professional development activities in the realm of Greek antiquity.

In conjunction with the program, the Greek Study Fellow teachers create a pool of resources for the teaching of Ancient Greece, including websites, books, maps, slides, and videotapes. After the project is completed, the Fellows make themselves available as leaders and mentors in school systems in New England and elsewhere.

The legacy of ancient Greece — and its central hold on the imagination — is rendered anew in “ExL/GreeceOnline,” a groundbreaking professional program for educators, aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of ancient Greece and strengthening the teaching of Greek history in the schools.

The Examined Life/GreeceOnline is an online graduate humanities program developed by The Examined Life: Greek Studies in the Schools (ExL). The program includes a course of study featuring webinars, videotaped lectures, and a study tour of Greece.

“ExL/GreeceOnline is open to educators, school and public librarians, museum specialists, authors, illustrators, publishers, and editors, and all those working with young people, as well as individuals committed to the program’s mission to strengthen Greek studies in the schools and to raise public consciousness and knowledge of ancient (and modern) Greece.

The course provides a time for reflection and renewal, and a time to explore the quality of our own lives and the legacy we choose to leave to our children.

It also provides an exciting journey to ancient (and modern) Greece through the eyes of world-class scholars. Literature, history, philosophy, art, culture, government, and politics are explored in lectures and readings that include The Iliad and The Odyssey; the tragedies of Euripides, Sophocles and Aeschylus; the comedies of Aristophanes; and the writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plato.

In addition, the influence of ancient Greece is examined in modern renderings of myth and epic by such modern writers and illustrators as Barbara Cooney, Warwick Hutton, Rosemary Sutcliff, Padraic Colum, and Adele Geras.

Lecturers explore several themes in the literature, including democracy and the obligations of citizenship, war and peace, anger and reconciliation, the meaning of life, and the Greek ideal of heroism.

For more information about these programs, please click on the link below: www.teachgreece.org/overview_introduction.html