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  • Devin O'Donnell

Purpose in practice; delight in diligence

Part of classical pedagogy, or just plain good teaching, is to make our assignments count. Make them memorable. Make them be an experience in themselves. Make them have an impact. In other words, we want to be “purposeful in practice.” It’s so easy, especially when we don’t plan well, to default to simply giving students work to do, irrespective of the purpose, beyond simply giving us more time to get stuff done.


This leads us to the example of "homework." A note on homework: how much is too much? Being purposeful in our homework is really, really important. Ask the questions, “Is this necessary? And if so, how and why? Does reinforce an objective in the course?”


This leads us to the important discussion of “homework” (HW). Let us establish some dogmas about HW at St. Abraham’s. St. Thomas said, “The essence of virtue consists in the good rather than in the difficult. Not everything that is more difficult is necessarily more meritorious; it must be more difficult in such a way that it is at the same time good in a yet higher way.” Difficulty can be good; not all Goodness is difficult. In other words, if something is difficult, it does not follow that it is intrinsically good. The appeal and conformity to the Good is higher and more transcendent than difficulty. Thus, difficulty is accidental to Goodness, only insofar as difficulty touches the Good.


What does this mean for us? It means that we must examine our assignments and activities in several different ways.

Here's the agenda for today.

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