Learning—the engagement of the mind and imagination with reality—is an essential human activity. We introduce our students to this essential activity through forming them into a community of learners. We do not intend to introduce them to school or schooling, but to a culture where ideas and the expression of the human spirit matter. Jacques Maritain, a French philosopher, described education as a “human awakening.” The educational culture of Trinity Schools makes that human awakening a reality for our students.
At Trinity Schools, the student is the main agent of his or her own education. Rather than receiving knowledge passively, each student is actively engaged in apprehending concepts and perceiving relationships.
Students learn to think for themselves and not simply absorb the ideas of others. This is one result of our firm commitment to reading and discussing original texts and documents. Students deal directly with the thoughts and words of the author, not with the ideas of some other reader or expert. They do not read commentaries, introductions, reviews, etc.; they meet the text on its own terms. Thoughtful and imaginative participation is required of every student.
This notion of the active involvement of each student lies behind many of the distinctive features of the organization and pedagogy of Trinity Schools. Limiting the size of classes to no more than 20 students, separating boys and girls in the classroom, reading original texts and documents rather than textbooks—all are strategies for constructing a culture where students are engaged in thinking on their own and discussing their ideas with others.
Our educational culture is active and focused on active engagement. In the arts program, students play the recorder, sing in the choir and compose music. In the visual arts, they paint and draw. In drama, they act. In the seminar, they discuss and write. In mathematics and science, they solve problems, write computer programs in MATLAB and engage in experiments.