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HeightsCast: Forming Men Fully Alive

Welcome to HeightsCast, the official podcast of The Heights School! Every other week, we feature interviews with teachers and educators here at The Heights School and elsewhere, on the education and formation of the type of man you’d want your daughter to marry. Our hope is that through this medium we can enlighten, inspire, and reassure the parents and friends of The Heights community, and parents and educators throughout the world. Join us!
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HeightsCast: Forming Men Fully Alive
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Sep 24, 2018

Bad news is all around us. It always has been. It always will be. As if personal and family challenges weren't enough, we have an attention economy that seems dead set on giving a generation of young people chronic anxiety about seemingly cataclysmic events. How can we prepare our children to handle bad news? Quite simply, by handling it well ourselves, remaining saintly and cool under fire. How do we do that? Listen in to learn more.

Sep 17, 2018

This week on HeightsCast we feature Sarah Mackenzie, an author and mother who is leading a movement to bring reading aloud back into our homes. When was the last time you read aloud to your children? Many of us really lost steam when our boys started reading to themselves. As Sarah explains in The Read Aloud Family, reading aloud has both academic and formational benefits for children of all ages. Moreover, it draws us closer together as families! To kick-start the revival, give this episode a listen.

Additional Resources:

The Read Aloud Revival

The Read Aloud Family

Tom Longano on Teaching Reading here and here.

Sep 10, 2018

Heights students are given the freedom to choose their outfits, so long as they adhere to the dress code. What are the virtues that our boys can build by dressing well, and how can we as teachers bring that growth about, one half-widsor and tucked in shirt at at time? Listen in to hear Mr. Joel Sellier address all of these questions in this episode of HeightsCast.

Aug 27, 2018

Headmaster, Alvaro de Vicente addresses freedom and smart phones. These devices can be incredible tools, but only if used with a proper sense of self-mastery. Is there an age when boys are ready? No hard and fast answers to that question, but our headmaster is able to offer some helpful factors to consider.

Aug 20, 2018
Last episode we addressed the importance of properly and prudently handling wildlife. Once your boy has the prudence and courage needed to fully experience the wild, a nature journal is a great next step for our budding naturalists. Join Mr. Eric Heil for a conversation about how to keep a nature journal. Of course, this is only an introduction to what is covered in more detail here.
 
Happy journaling to all youngsters of adventurous good will during these, the last two weeks of summer! 
Aug 6, 2018

We've all been there. A boy in your care looks earnestly into your eyes, rabid with excitement; he's found a critter and he wants to catch it. What do you do? Eric Heil, Lower School Natural History teacher, offers his thoughts on how to guide our sons to both handle and appreciate the creatures they encounter in the wild.

Aug 3, 2018

We are a liberal arts school, but we embrace contemporary literature that leads our students to the good, the true, and the beautiful. Not all of it does, though. And, even those moderns that are positively formational often accomplish by leaning, in some way, on the older great authors of the older great books. Contrary to the notion that we are hiding great moderns from our students, we are, instead, curating a selection of books that liberates the mind in the tradition of the liberal arts. How do we pick our moderns? Why do we still favor the classics? Listen in to learn why from a man with over 30 years of experience teaching at The Heights.

Jul 23, 2018

Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, joins us for a conversation about college that will benefit students, parents, and teachers. He challenges the assumption that every prep school grad should attend college right away at any cost, and he offers fantastic insights about the entire college experience–from college choice, to choice of majors, to engagement with students and faculty who think differently.

Jul 2, 2018

Our students and sons start learning the moment they set foot on campus. Every time we greet a boy in the hallway, we are teaching him. Every time we are late to class, we are teaching him. Tone is a powerful teacher, and Alvaro de Vicente shares his thoughts on how to foster a positive tone, both at school and at home. Your students will forget 90% of what you teach them, but will likely recall 90% of the tone you set. For schools, and school leaders, a good tone is both obligation and opportunity. Listen in to hear how to make the most of it.

Jun 25, 2018

Tom Longano spends an episode unpacking his recent webinar on how to anchor summer reading in leisure. Can a 3rd grader actually achieve this? Yes. How? Listen in. You might pick up a tip or two for your own reading as well.

Don't just make your son read to "get it done"; nurture his desire to read for living!

Happy summer, and if you'd like to view the webinar, click here.

May 9, 2018
American boys are failing to keep pace with their mathematical peers internationally. Our test scores aside–and we are skeptical of attempts at standardized measurement–there is the deeper problem of many boys hating math and failing to learn the skills they need for professional success, and the habits of mind needed to fully appreciate reality. Heights math teacher, Dave Maxham explores the causes for this visceral reaction that so many boys have. He sums it up in four causes: the problem of standards, the problem of common core (concepts vs. algebra), the problem of testing emphasis (data vs. algebra), and the problem of trust.
 
Boys should love math. Here's a crack at identifying the problems.
May 4, 2018

Heights teacher, Joe Breslin, discusses the problems with the contemporary approach to writing, and offers his strategy for raising craftsmen of letters.  By turning your classroom into a workshop, you can engage your boys and train them in the arts of observation and effective communication.

Apr 23, 2018

Lower School Head Colin Gleason continues a discussion with Tom Cox and Austin Hatch on Prudence, as presented by Josef Pieper. Often we understand this virtue as nothing more than a cunning tactic, when in reality, prudence is far more. The virtue encompasses a capacity for silence, a understanding of reality, and an ability to make right decisions. Prudence is a virtue for the magnanimous. Listen in to learn more.

Apr 16, 2018

Find out why Dr. Mehan believes that "a healthy politics requires a healthy poetics." He discusses the importance of poetry in the formation of leaders. It's not all fun and games, at The Heights, when our boys are memorizing. They are both memorizing and readying themselves for prudential statesmanship. Dr. Mehan pulls it all together for us, and offers an introduction to his forthcoming children's poetry book that Hamlet should have read.

To preorder your M5, visit:
www.mythicalmammals.com

Also, you can follow Dr. Mehan on Twitter here:
https://twitter.com/MTMehan

Apr 10, 2018

Lower School Head Colin Gleason leads a discussion with Tom Cox and Austin Hatch on Prudence, as presented by Joseph Pieper. Often we understand this virtue as nothing more than a cunning tactic, when in reality, prudence is far more. The virtue encompasses a capacity for silence, a understanding of reality, and an ability to make right decisions. Prudence is a virtue for the magnanimous. Listen in to learn more.

Mar 7, 2018

Tom Longano and Pat Love run a successful drama program for lower and middle school boys at The Heights. With their play coming up next week, they discuss the founding of The Tower Fools, what makes an effective show and what the fruits of drama are to the young liberal arts mind–and their audience.

Feb 23, 2018

Psychologists and social commentators are decrying the high levels of stress experienced by the typical American teen. By most reports, more than half of teens are suffering from excessive stress, and many of those young people are prone to slip further down this path into anxiety and depression. Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente draws on his decades of experience as a teacher and mentor to unpack some of the reasons why boys nationwide are "stressed-out." Turns out many of the factors are well within our parental control.

Jan 22, 2018

The prose is beautiful, but sometimes we gloss over the full impact of the Bard's writing. Join Mr. Joe Bissex and a few of his students for a discussion of what students can learn from a well-led production of Macbeth.

Jan 8, 2018

Heights Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente presents his vision of education for boys. Hear our headmaster discuss the role of parents, faculty, and school in the raising of "men fully alive." Sometimes we fall short, but this is our aspiration.

Dec 27, 2017

Join CFO Phil McGovern and Director of Annual Giving James Kolakowski for a discussion on smart giving. The new tax laws, stock market, and end of year present interesting opportunities for donors and schools alike. Listen in to hear more about how to make the most of your gifts!

Dec 19, 2017

Jeremy Tate, President and Co-Founder of the Classical Learning Test, and Kirby Hartley, Director of Outreach, join us for a conversation about the new SAT. The revised SAT is easier, aligns (and promotes) the Common Core, and has proven less helpful to top students than previous versions of the test. Learn how the CLT presents an alternative route to college entry that supports the mission of schools like The Heights.

Dec 14, 2017

Lower School Head, Colin Gleason, offers a Heights Lecture on integrity. He shares how honesty requires far more than merely telling the truth; our boys must learn to live the truth.

Nov 29, 2017

Boys need mentors. We know this intuitively from our observations of young and older boys alike. But why? Join Mr. Joe Cardenas (Head of Mentoring) and Alex Berthe (7th Grade Core Teacher) for a conversation on why boys–and their parents–need mentoring.

Nov 21, 2017

Hillsdale College Dr. Matt Spalding continues his conversation with us about American History, and the theory of education in 20th century America.

If you haven't listened to Part I of the episode, listen here.

  • 3:28: Schools are trying to do too much in their study of History.
    • APs and other similar courses and curricula force us to cover too much ground in a superficial way.
    • The most important task for parents and teachers is to give students an imagination. Otherwise, history becomes flat and dry.
    • We should be more simple in our approach; students can find data on their own with ease if they have basic skills.
    • We have to break through the idea that there are no absolute truths.
  • 8:28: American education shifted in the Progressive Era due to the influence of, among others, John Dewey.
    • Classical and Medieval thought had a shared understanding of reality, which is why Shakespeare, Aristotle and Aquinas could all talk about the same things.
    • In the modern world, there is a shift beginning with Machiavelli, and running through Hegel.
    • This though enters the American context through the Progressive Era. There were two key assumptions to this line of thinking. (1) There are no permanent things, and everything is relative; thus the pursuit of truth and knowledge makes no sense. (2) All things change with time; they are historical. Past thinkers, including the founders, did not have a historical sense; all things are relative to their time.
    • This yields an education system that is not about transferring knowledge, but about discovering ourselves through a deconstructive process. This is a departure from the world of Churchill, the Founders, the Classical and Ancient worlds, in which education served the process of "liberating" the mind to know these timeless truths.
    • Progressive history is summed up in quote by Carl Becker, "Whether the Declaration of Independence is true is a meaningless question." To the contrary, that is the question. It was what Washington and Lincoln grappled with, as do we today.
  • 17:19: What are colleges looking for in a high school graduate?
    • Student who will flourish in college is the one who can do the basic human things as the "rational animal." The great gift is the gift of speech--articulating, communicating, reading, being able to discuss other things that others have communicated.
    • Students must have a basic framework of history, along with the main aspects of character and human nature.
    • This student will flourish if the objective of college is not necessarily a professional degree.  To the contrary, college should be a time when you continue your thinking, with other people learning to think, guided by someone with years of experience guiding, such that one liberates his mind using the wisdom of the past.  College is an organized experiment in thinking well about the true things.
    • A young man's capacity to flourish and succeed is seen, more than anywhere else, in his character.
    • High school should provide a good education:  knowledge, yes, but also habits of thinking and doing that are rooted in more than mere technical knowledge.

Dr. Spalding's most recent book is We Still Hold These Truths.

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