Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review of Virtuous Minds by Phillip E. Dow

Virtuous Minds: Intellectual Character Development
by Phillip E. Dow
ISBN 978-0-8308-2714-5
IVP Academic
Reviewed by Clint Walker

This book, as you might be able to tell from the cover, is a book on pedagogical philosophy. Specifically, the author wants educators to pay more attention to teaching students values that will help them grow throughout life instead of just facts that they will forget soon after learning them.

Virtuous Minds makes the case for intellectual character development through seven intellectual virtues. As the book description on the back cover states, "virtue is not just about doing the right things, it is about becoming the right kind of person."

Dow believes that this kind of education of persons can happen in churches, homes, and schools, but as an educator he has written this primarily as a resource for those seeking to formally educate young persons. There are 8 appendices in this book, and all of them have to do with implementing the program in the classroom.

The book starts off with a description of each of the seven intellectual virtues that should be cultivated. Dow then follows the virtues with the benefits of developing these character traits in young people. After that there are a few small practical guides on implementing the philosophy advocated in Virtuous Minds. Finally, there is a discussion guide for university students and church groups followed by appendices.

I think Phillip Dow has some interesting things to say here. I certainly believe that his goals are easier accomplished by charter schools and private schools than in our heavily regimented public school environment. I could especially see them into a classical education model.

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