Online Summer Conference
June 23-24, 2023
Sponsored by Templeton Honors College at Eastern University
Did you miss the 2023 Gibbs Classical Online Conference? A full recording package is available for purchase for $225 using the Paypal button below. The purchase cost includes:
Video recordings of all conference lectures and Q&A sessions
A bonus session ("How to Teach Latin Less Unclassically") with guest lecturer Will Killmer, Director of Classical Language Instruction and Latin Teacher at Veritas School in Richmond, VA.
Audio recordings of all conference lectures and Q&A sessions
A PDF containing the full transcript of Josh Gibbs' eight lectures.
A discussion guide for each lecture which can help when thinking through and implementing the lectures at your school or co-op.
After making a purchase, you will receive an email with the links and PDF within 48 hours. Please note that the recordings are only available as a full set (i.e. you cannot purchase a single lecture).
2023 (or 2022) Summer Conference Recordings | $225
2022 and 2023 Summer Conference Recordings| $400
FRIDAY, JUNE 23
All times are Eastern (EST)
All sessions will be recorded
Session No. 1 | 10:30 am
How to Test, How to Grade
What does a fair test over Augustine’s Confessions look like for an eighth grader? How about a sophomore? What about a fourth grader? And what’s the difference between an essay that earns an 87% as opposed to an 88%?
This lecture offers practical answers and solutions to some of the most commonly asked questions about assessment and grades. In this lecture, I also outline a simple five question test that can be given to any grade level over any classic text which will assess student knowledge in a conversational and common-sense manner, and which can be completed in less than an hour.
Session No. 2 | 12:30 pm
How to Teach (Political) Philosophy
Many students at classical Christian schools claim they are conservatives, but don’t really understand the difference between political conservativism and liberalism. They know what the conservative position is on a handful of hot button issues, but they don’t know what philosophical beliefs bind conservative positions together. Similarly, they know what positions liberals support and oppose, but they don’t know why. This lecture looks at Rousseau’s Social Contract and Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, explains significant quotes and concepts, and enables teachers to explain the historical differences between the two great rival modern political philosophies.
Session No. 3 | 2:30 pm
How to Teach Pride and Prejudice
Unlike the works of Dante or Augustine, Pride and Prejudice is a bona fide classic which most high school students can understand on their own, which means the novel presents a unique challenge to teachers. How does the teacher not become extraneous to the book? Many teachers are tempted to turn this book into nothing more than a history lesson on Great Britain, or to overstuff their discussions of the book with references to Austen’s biography. This lecture offers help on teaching Pride and Prejudice in a way that helps high school students take stock of their own souls, confess their sins, and contemplate their future as parents and spouses.
Session No. 4 | 4:30 pm
How to Teach the Divine Comedy
If you read the Comedy twenty times, you’re not going to fully grasp all it has to teach. So what do you say about the poem to students reading it for the first time, most of whom will only ever read it once? I‘ve taught the Comedy more than twenty times over the last decade, and in this lecture, I offer teachers a practical strategy for teaching the Comedy to high school students. Which themes should teachers zero in on? Which themes should be saved for second or third readings? Which cantos are key? What are the best commentaries on the poem? This lecture covers all the basics for teaching one of the most complex classic texts of all time.
Bonus Session with Will Killmer | 6:00 pm
How to Teach Latin Less Unclassically
While Latin literature occupies a clear and integral place within the classical tradition, it is less clear how Latin ought to be taught in a way that is consonant with that tradition. This session will provide a short definition of Latin instruction that situates it within the liberal arts, and from that foundation model several practices each for pre-teaching new vocabulary and grammatical structures, reading a Latin text with students and checking their understanding of it (beyond translation into English), and shoring up students’ comprehension of a text.
About Will Killmer: For the past eight years, Will has taught Latin to students ranging from 3rd grade to 12th grade. He holds a B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia (during which time he spent a semester abroad in Rome) as well as two M.A.s from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In the classroom, Will likes to use active methods of Latin instruction that utilize the best practices from the rich 2000-year tradition of Latin teaching and learning that seek to form students as inhabitants of the language and its rich literature.
Q&A session No. 1 | 7:30 pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 24
All times are Eastern (EST)
All sessions will be recorded
Session No. 5 | 10:30 am
Before You Teach a Classic Book: Knowing Your Own Limits
A good teacher knows his limits and the limits of his students. What is the most you can expect from a single reading of Plato’s Republic? What is the most a junior can get from Paradise Lost? Many teachers are frustrated because they either ask too much of their students or do not ask enough. Classical theorists often speak of giving students “mastery” over their texts, which sounds great, but who in their right mind would claim to have mastered Paradise Lost or the City of God on a first read at the age of seventeen? If good teachers are not training their students to master Plato and Augustine, what are they training them to do? This lecture tackles these tough questions and helps teachers properly gauge what their students can do.
Session No. 6 | 12:30 pm
Tips for Teaching History / Tips for Teaching Rhetoric
At many classical schools, literature teachers are given huge stacks of classics to teach every year, but also told to “teach history,” as though the two subjects easily, obviously went together. This lecture explores how to teach history while teaching classics—and how to teach history in a way that coincides with teaching virtue.
Too often, rhetoric classes are just writing classes or philosophy classes by a different name. Students may read aloud a few things they’ve composed over the course of the year, but they don’t get enough practice speaking in public to get good at it. This lecture proposes ways of conducting rhetoric classes which give students substantial practice in public speaking, but which do not entail massive amounts of homework.
Session No. 7 | 2:30 pm
How to Teach Frankenstein
Most discussion guides for Frankenstein now center on modern science, bioethics, and pointless debates about whether Frankenstein’s monster is “a real person.” In fact, Frankenstein is a book about parenting and the perils of privacy, issues that every teenager is considering in earnest, often without real direction from adults. This lecture offers instruction on how to teach Frankenstein such that students have solid leverage with which to consider their burgeoning private lives and the role their parents (ought to) play in their maturation.
Session No. 8 | 4:30 pm
How to Teach Paradise Lost
John Milton was an interesting fellow, although it isn’t necessary to know much about his life to appreciate his greatest work. Nonetheless, Paradise Lost is a classic wherein the biography of the author is often overtaught, especially in high schools. But if Paradise Lost isn’t taught as British history, social commentary, or a rogue theological treatise, how is it taught? How can teachers present Paradise Lost to high school students in a way that helps them understand temptation, fight temptation, and love God more deeply? This lecture answers these pressing questions about the greatest English poem.