“We know almost nothing about the 14th century Italian painter Laurentius de Voltolina, except that his signature appears on one of the most remarkable images of the late middle ages. The drawing appears in a preserved […] manuscript […] by a medieval scholar named Henricus de Alemania (Henry the German). We scarcely know more about Henericus than we do Laurentius. All we can say for sure is that he is the figure at the front of the class in the famous illustration that decorates his book. This drawing by an obscure painter in a virtually unknown manuscript has become famous in our day as one of the earliest concrete pictures of a medieval university classroom. […] The reactions of the students give us a window into education in the 14h century […] some of the students, primarily in the front row, listen to his words with rapt attention. Other follow along studiously in the text. Towards the back of the room, students seem more distracted; some look bored, others are socializing with each other, and at least two appear to have fallen asleep. It is, in other words, like many college classrooms today.”

As we begin our next unit over the argumentative Q3 essay for the AP Language exam, we will be focusing our reading through the lens of education, and will specifically be looking to answer the essential question: “How do we provide an equal education to all citizens?”.

We’ll be answering this question through a series of documents from a variety of sources in order to help you improve your ability to make text-connections during the Q3 essay. You will have the chance to practice the essay itself, and build other skills through Socratic seminar, collegiate discussion, and a series of projects.

You did an excellent job today of starting your discussion of this essential question by deciding to break it down further and negotiate the specific meaning behind this question. In doing so you clarified that by ‘provide’, we should instead rephrase our question to reflect ‘the opportunity for’. Additionally, you chose to define’equal education’ as meaning ‘equal regardless of economic means, race, gender, religion, disability, ect.’. You further defined the idea of the ‘education’ you were discussing as one ‘that takes into account a student’s learning style, that differentiates, that has highly trained teachers, that provides students access to technology, promotes good student/teacher relationships, and that prepares students for the real world’.

Your revised essential question is therefore: “How do we provide the opportunity for all citizens, regardless of economic means, race, gender, religion, or disability, for an education that takes into account a student’s learning style, that differentiates, that has highly trained teachers, that provides students access to technology, promotes good student/teacher relationships, and that prepares students for the real world?” Whew! That’s a difficult question to answer – but I’m sure you guys will do a great job working towards that answer the next two weeks!

You also did a wonderful job today connecting the similarities and differences with the image above to the modern classroom. Be sure to take notes in class over our seminars and discussions, and this material can still show up on any quiz or test we have! 🙂