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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a sketch of medieval teaching and learning as a lived experience, concentrating on practice rather than pedagogic theory and hence on a select number of texts that contain vestiges of this practice. The focus is on the formative period of the medieval schools from the late tenth to twelfth century, the period before the emergence of universities, and on those stages in which the chief concern was the arts of language—grammar and rhetoric in particular. Medieval primary education sought to teach linguistic skills while at the same time instilling a moral habitus through imitation of textual as well as human examples. The school was a consciously disciplinary system with an ethical purpose beyond the teaching of intellectual skills. For students, disciplina became internalized through emulation in a setting where the persona of the magister, demonstrating a living exemplum of learning and cultivation, occupied the center of attention. Two examples are presented that provide a sense of the conduct of teaching: one consisting of teaching materials from a monastic school milieu; and one from a cathedral school representing the work of a student. Both are from the decades around the year 1000 and from the German Empire, but they reflect practices representative of medieval schools throughout the period.

Keywords: medieval teaching, language, disciplinary system, intellectual skills, monastic school, cathedral school

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