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Effective Classical and Christian Training

I believe that classical and Christian education is more about wisdom being embodied in the teacher than the right curriculum, program, or technique.

I also believe that teachers must understand the link between the philosophy and the practice of classical and Christian education to be effective.

I believe that classical and Christian teaching must be modeled in front of classical and Christian teachers.

And lastly, I believe that an “immersion” in the model of classical and Christian education through conversations in small groups in a contemplative setting is imperative in training.

Because I believe these things and because I wanted this type of training for my teachers, five years ago I started a conference for K-12 teachers, headmasters, and home-schoolers. It is called the Intellectus Conlectio, “a gathering for contemplative thinking”. A good friend of mine, Wes Callihan, recently honored me with these words about the conference:

“James Daniels’ Intellectus Conlectio, held at a beautiful retreat center in the woods outside Memphis each summer, is the ideal education conference because it’s so unlike an education conference. The seminars are conducted in Daniels’ laid-back Socratic style; the satisfying meals together are leisurely and conducive to sharing ideas; Daniels and other master teachers make themselves available around the clock for one-on-one practical counsel; and best of all the after-hours conversations, sometimes running late into the night on the comfortable screened porches, allow participants not only to imagine the concrete applications of the conference for their own teaching but also the much broader implications of a culture shaped by this sort of education. All of this is made possible by the deliberately small number of participants and by the fact that they are all together all week in the same vicinity – learning, eating, drinking, strolling the grounds, and contemplating together in a full-time community, not scattering at night and between talks. It’s a community, not just an audience listening to lecturers; its greatest virtue is that it models, by inviting the participants into the pattern of things like a very un-ascetic and relaxed monastic order, what the ideal educational community might be. The Intellectus Conlectio week was the most stimulating, fruitful, and delightful conference I’ve ever participated in.”

Please e-mail me at if you would like information on this conference. Let me know soon – each of the two summer conferences is limited to 25 people and vacancies are filling!

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