Life of the Mind: Brookewood & Avalon Schools
Ep. 10 Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with Andrea Francois

Ep. 10 Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with Andrea Francois

August 21, 2022

Andrea and I discuss Donna Tartt's The Secret History, a novel I have loved since it came out and which Andrea encountered through a book club.  This is not a book appropriate to be taught at Brookewood, but one for adults interested in family and friendship, in the consequences of actions.  The novel stands out for its memorable characters, its relationship to Dostoyevsky and to Greek tragedy, and its brilliant writing.  We have fun talking about it, and hope you'll enjoy our conversation.

Ep. 9 John Dewey & the Decline of American Education, with David Booz

Ep. 9 John Dewey & the Decline of American Education, with David Booz

August 3, 2022

David Booz and I talk (in his somewhat echo-y dining room) about Henry T. Edmondson III's 2006 book John Dewey and the Decline of American Education, a critique of Dewey that has become more relevant now as mainstream education has become increasingly devoted to social reform.  David and I talk about human nature, the goals of education, the role of teaching methods, and the importance of tradition.

Ep. 8 Tom Tobin on Walker Percy

Ep. 8 Tom Tobin on Walker Percy

July 20, 2022

Tom Tobin, Upper School English Teacher at Avalon, talks with me about Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, which won the 1962 National Book Award.  The novel's (anti-)hero, Binx Bolling, struggles between competing worldviews, on one hand, an abstract scientism and, on the other, a more humane vision, in a way that reminds us of Dostoyevsky even as Binx's conflict speaks specifically to issues that will feel very familiar in our own time.  Plus, in this episode, Tom does a convincing if brief Shelby Foote impression!

Ep. 7 Tacit Curriculum, with Kevin Davern

Ep. 7 Tacit Curriculum, with Kevin Davern

May 1, 2022

The tacit curriculum of a school is what it teaches through its culture.  Kevin Davern, Headmaster of The Avalon School, and I talk about the play between the spoken and tacit curricula at Avalon (and to some degree at Brookewood).  We talk about the origin of the tacit curriculum in the personalities of teachers, the values that give rise to the school in the first place, and features of school culture.  For me, the fruits of that tacit curriculum have been important to the growth in my own sons in their comfort with themselves and their confidence in taking risks and solving problems as well as in their ethical compass and experiences of the Faith.

Ep. 6 Attention, with Fr. José Medina

Ep. 6 Attention, with Fr. José Medina

April 2, 2022

Fr. José Medina talks with me about attention.  What makes certain words move people?  Fr. Medina says, after St. Augustine, that you will not learn anything you do not love.  We begin by talking about cultivating attention as a habit of mind, and our conversation goes from there to all kinds of places:  our classes, fasting, love, various gospel readings, the archetypal hero, Luigi Giussani, Simone Weil, Sherwood Anderson, and poetry.  

Ep. 5 The Violent Bear It Away, with David Booz

Ep. 5 The Violent Bear It Away, with David Booz

March 13, 2022

David Booz returns to the podcast to discuss Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away.

Ep. 4 Parvus Sed Potens

Ep. 4 Parvus Sed Potens

February 12, 2022

Rich McPherson, Brookewood Headmaster, sits down with Cherie Walsh to discuss the many benefits of small schools.

Ep. 3: Endo’s Silence, David Booz and Andrea Francois

Ep. 3: Endo’s Silence, David Booz and Andrea Francois

December 26, 2021

David Booz, Brookewood Theology Chair, and Andrea Francois, Lower School + 6 Director, discuss with Cherie Walsh their readings of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence and Martin Scorsese's 2017 film adaptation of the novel.  Issues include the problem of innocent suffering--and, relatedly, God's alleviation of suffering vs. His accompaniment--and the role of Judas in the story of Christ.  The novel and the film also highlight the problem of hubris as Rodrigues sets himself up in place of Christ.

Ep. 2: Rich McPherson on Chesterton

Ep. 2: Rich McPherson on Chesterton

November 17, 2021

Brookewood's Head of School, Richard McPherson, talks with Cherie Walsh about one his favorite Catholic thinkers and writers, G.K. Chesterton. 

Ep. 1: Dostoyevsky, with David Booz

Ep. 1: Dostoyevsky, with David Booz

November 17, 2021

Brookewood Life of the Mind podcast premieres with a conversation between Brookewood Assistant Head of School, Cherie Walsh, and Brookewood's Upper School theology teacher, David Booz, on reading Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov. 

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