The Great Books curriculum and Shared Inquiry™
Academic work at the university level begins not with answers, but with questions. The Great Books program teaches students how to formulate the kinds of questions which foster focused and meaningful discussion. When students enter a university with the ability to both answer and ask questions, they will be more than a few steps ahead.
Great Books students are pushed to dive deeply into source texts. When they arrive in the college classroom they will feel confident using the critical inquiry skills developed in the Great Books programs.
The Great Books curriculum is used at some of the most prestigious American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, St. John’s and Columbia to develop critical reading skills by using the greatest western literature as textbooks.
The goal of the InterLangua Great Books program is to instill in students the habits of mind that characterize independent thinkers. Unlike test preparation texts, unfiltered research using Great Books literature can engage the whole person, the imagination as well as the intellect, in a wide variety of communication styles. This method is the perfect stepping-stone to entering an International Baccalaureate (IB) high school program and progressing on to further study of liberal arts courses at a college or university level.
Central to the Great Books program is the technique of Shared Inquiry™, a unique method of learning in which students search for answers to fundamental questions raised by a text. This approach develops the ability to speak fluently in the classroom and communicate convincingly in writing – a crucial element for success in American colleges and universities.
Case Study: The Yucai International Dept
The Yucai International Dept (YCID) uses a unique curriculum, designed by InterLangua, to refine and accelerate English language learning in China. We use dialogue and deliberation in our reading programs, with an emphasis on writing using a variety of rhetorical styles. Our students speak, read and write fluently before they move on to higher education in the USA or other western universities.
While China needs to maintain the celebrated GaoKao Test, a national equalizer among the rich and poor, it is clear that simply “teaching to the test” is hampering critical thinking in public schools. Recognizing this, the Nanshan Education Bureau has broken new ground in China by offering its students the very best international education. Educated Chinese parents realize that while the GaoKao test certainly tests knowledge students have gained from traditional teaching methods, it does not help students develop higher order thinking skills.
InterLangua’s presence in the Chinese public school system has provided answers to some of its most compelling problems, by encouraging students to express their opinions clearly and confidently and to form good habits for inquiry.
Curricula Integration into Chinese National System
InterLangua creates custom programs for K-12 schools who understand the importance of integrating critical thinking into their curriculum. The proven Great Books methods teach students useful tools to question received information and go beyond the rote memorization of facts. This is an invaluable skill leading to greater acceptance in major international universities and greater success in business and in life.