Teachers usually encourage students to prepare thoroughly for final exams so that when students arrive to class on exam day, they are ready to demonstrate their full knowledge of course material. However, this year’s seniors in Rhetoric 2 were told they could not prepare for their final exam. Instead, they showed up to class on exam day, chose a topic from a previously uncirculated list, had 45 minutes to write out a full argument fleshing out their position and supporting reasons, and then were graded on oral deliveries of these speed arguments along with their content.
All of the seniors passed with flying colors – a testament to their consistent growth as thinkers, writers, and speakers over the last two years as they have been challenged in humanities, rhetoric, and other aspects of academic life at Petra. This week, we share with you the three most stellar arguments, continuing with senior Logan Moody.
Should Petra continue to develop our computer science program, or does it represent a step away from the classical tradition, which seeks to educate the mind and heart, not prepare students for a trade?
Within the past years, sales and production of electronic devices have skyrocketed, and the electronics industry has grown to be one of the world’s largest source of jobs, industry, and innovation. Despite the massive growth in the technology industry, this vast growing sector has raised many numerous questions of morality among traditional groups of people who are uncertain about the morality and integrity behind being involved with this shift away from traditional jobs of trade toward one of electronic programming, designing, and a virtual workspace. After all, if we are to invest in God’s heavenly city, then why even bother about keeping up with the city of man in its many developments?
In my paper, I will seek to address this issue and show how Christians and classical schools should not view this as a threat. For this reason, I will argue that Petra should continue to expand its computer science program because classical education can be integrated into this modern shift toward computer science without a compromise in morality, classical students have a much greater diversity to offer to the world of computer science than secularly trained students, and that we, as Christians, have a moral obligation to contribute, mold, and involve ourselves with the culture around us.
My objective in this paper is to show how computer science and technologically related jobs do not present themselves as a threat to the objective of classical education. To do this, I will point to the issues of morality and how they do not necessarily affect the individual as long as the person has moral obligations to not develop or contribute to immoral industries.
The objective of classical education is to teach students to be discerning and thoughtful about what they choose to do in their lives. This is a much greater perspective to give students than the common core taught in public schools, which only teaches students the same relative views and gives them no ways to discern morality. In relation to this, it can be hard to see how computer science could fit into this mold, as this area of education seems to be heavily infiltrated by secular culture.
What traditional and classical teachers tend to think of in respect to computer science is the shift of modernity toward virtual, separate worlds for the individual, and that the tech industry leads only to this. Although this can happen, and is not a good outcome of technology, computer science can also develop important and necessary skills that can give graduates a head start when they enter into college if they choose to pursue a degree related to computer science. Even if students do not choose to pursue a degree in this area, they can still use it to their benefit if, for example, they need to teach their parents how to better use their electronics, or simply to better understand computer science themselves. Also, computer science can be easily integrated into existing class structures with minimal disruption to the classical school.
Secondly, Classically trained students have a significantly greater diversity to offer the world of computer science than secularly trained students. For example, students who have been trained throughout their schooling years by the common core all have relatively the same beliefs, morals, and perspectives on life because this is the goal of the common core. With classical education, however, every emerging student has their own opportunity to reason and contribute in their own distinct way. With a degree in computer science, these rational and discerning students can have a far greater impact to the world of technology than students from public schools, and can go on to be very successful in this industry.
Lastly, as Christians, we have a moral obligation to immerse ourselves in culture around us as long as it does not impact our morality or steer us toward bad directions. In doing this, we help to ensure that the Christian worldview can still be shown in all aspects of culture, whether it be through books, magazines, or technology. Also, as Christians we have an obligation to do this. If the only people to contribute to the technology industry were secular, atheistic people, then the industry would rapidly abandon all aspects of God, or classical traditional values, as it is presently continuing to do.
Christians might disagree with me in saying that, even though we have a moral obligation to involve ourselves with the culture we live in, that teaching our children computer science in schools is still not necessary. After all, if they choose to pursue a degree in this field, they can still choose to do so in college? I would argue that, if we do not give classical students the option of being trained in computer science before college, then we are drastically reducing the chance of any of them choosing to pursue a degree in this field, simply because they have never been exposed to it, and likely have been discouraged from learning about it. Also, it makes it more difficult for students to pursue further education in this field if they have never experienced it before, and the students from public school programs will likely be more successful.
For these reasons, Petra should continue to expand its computer science program. Because computer science can be easily meshed into the classical education without a compromise in the objective of classical education, that classically trained Christians have more to offer than secularly-trained students, and that we, as Christians have a moral obligation to involve ourselves in and help to form the culture in which we live.