Thomas Jefferson Education, also known as "TJEd" or "Leadership Education" is a philosophy and methodology of education which alternative educators, private schools, charter schools and homeschoolers. It is based on the Seven Keys of Great Teaching and the Phases of Learning. This educational paradigm was popularized through the writing and teaching of Oliver and Racel DeMille, co-authors of the TJEd resource materials. TJED is the reestablishment of a classical Liberal Arts Education based on the education of the founding American era and other classic periods on history.
Seven Keys of Great Teaching
In TJEd, the "Seven Keys of Great Teaching" are:
- Classics, not Textbooks
- Mentors, not Professors
- Inspire, not Require
- Structure Time, not Content
- Quality, not Conformity
- Simplicity, not Complexity
- You, not Them.
Phases of Leadership Education
TJEd prescribes a distinct approach for students of different developmental ages. These are called "Phases", and correspond with the physical/emotional/intellectual readiness for the lessons of each phase. The suggested corresponding ages are a general guide, with exceptions that vary widely. DeMille cites such developmental psychologists as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Erik Erikson in support of their paradigm of "Phases".
- Core (birth to 8+ years of age): right and wrong, good and bad, true and false, relationships, family values, family routines and responsibilities, learning accountability, and the value and love of work.
- Love of Learning (about 8 to 12 years of age): encourages family reading of classic literature, project learning, clubs and "Momschools" are among the elements that help inspire the youngster to love learning and to approach a variety of subjects with interest and growing levels of competence and diligence. The lessons of "Love of Learning" Phase: What's out there to learn? You're responsible for personal decisions. Personal accountability. Learning your gifts, interests, life's goals, mission. And the importance of home and family.
- Scholar (approximately 12 to 18 years of age): adolescent students study long hours and work with a mentor to refine their academic skills—the emphasis placed on cultural literacy and a personalized approach to studies.
- Depth (approximately 18 to 24 years of age): students submit to a mentor-guided program, whether privately or in a formal college setting or a "mission". The lessons of depth phase: 1. Initiative 2. Ingenuity 3. Allegiance 4. Integrity 5. Commitment 6. Passion 7. Impact
- Mission (approximately 25 to 45 years of age): the individual continues in self-education as he or she builds family and community through professional vocations, entrepreneurship, social leadership or some other focus.
- Impact (approximately 45 to 65 years of age, and beyond): the individual asserts leadership on a broader scale as an "elder" in society, acting as a mentor, philosopher, philanthropist, artist, community leader and generational elder in the family.
The books note that while the above timeline is in some respects ideal, it is possible to "renegotiate" lost lessons from previous phases, and "catch up" to the natural flow of the Phases.
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