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"The conversation around great books is an intellectual enrichment opportunity for high school and college students."

The Full Professor of the University of Navarra José María Torralba co-directs the course 'El challenge de leer en el classroom', in which nearly 200 participants approach a methodology of participatory seminars around classical readings.

/200 teachers, academics and managers from Education participated in the course held at campus in Madrid.

28 | 08 | 2023

"The conversation around great books is an opportunity for intellectual enrichment for high school and university students". This is what José María Torralba, Full Professor of the University of Navarra and director of the Center for Civic Humanism of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), at the framework of the course 'El challenge de leer en el classroom. The methodology of the Great Books Seminars', which is being held at campus in Madrid on August 30 and 31.

The program is based on thereading of ancient and modern classics, such as Animal Farm, Oedipus Rex, Nicomachean Ethics, and couplets on the death of his father, among others. It focuses on dialogical commentary and the essay of argumentative essays to connect the texts to the great human questions. 

Speakers include Catherine L'EcuyerD. in Education and Psychology, lecturer and writer; Luis González, director of the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation; andFernando Rodríguez-Borlado, professor of language and Literature at high school Tajamar and director of the podcast 'La Education, a discussion'

In addition to the lectures, four group sessions dedicated to the commentary of a book or text are planned. They will be led by professors of the Great Books Program of the high school Core Curriculum of the University of Navarra, as well as professors from other universities and writers such as Enrique García-Máiquez and Gregorio Luri.

Cooperative and dialogic learning

During these days, about 200 teachers and school administrators will approach the methodology of great books seminars. This is a proposal that financial aid to create a context educational participatory context of cultured and friendly conversation around classic readings. 

"Through it, young people can discover the relevance of books for their lives: they become part of the great conversation of culture in which they can find answers to their vital questions," details the Full Professor of Philology Clásica Álvaro Sánchez-Ostiz, also co-director of the course.

The professor recalls that children between the ages of 10 and 14 and between 15 and 18 currently have the highest percentages of frequent readers of the total Spanish population. However, he emphasizes that it is not only the quantity that matters, but also the quality of what they read. 

"It seems unrealistic to think that great books can be accessible to generations marked by a lack of attention and a demand for immediacy," he says. However, he points out that this subject of seminars demonstrates that the approach is possible. "It proposes cooperative and dialogic learning, where the student finds the context and the financial aid it needs to discover the pleasure of reading and learn to understand stories in all their depth," he says.

In addition, he emphasizes that they encourage writing: that participants are able to put their ideas in writing and develop their own argument on important topics about life or society.