Introduction to Excel College's Core Curriculum
April 2, 2023
Excel College’s unique Sequenced Modular Core Curriculum takes students on a journey of discovery through our Core Courses one subject at a time in a sequence that follows the divine flow of the biblical narrative.
During the Excel Core Courses, students learn how to read and approach different genres of literature. Beginning with the first three modules, students learn the skills to critically read, write and speak using our innovative Critical Thinking Method. Students then continue to develop and hone these skills as they apply them in every academic discipline thereafter.
This revolutionary format boosts academic performance and generates a desire for lifelong learning. Why? First, students actively participate in a coherent model of education that weaves all subject matter into a comprehensive tapestry that reflects the unity of knowledge. Our model recognizes that the inquiries of some subjects depend heavily upon those of others. It would be vain to explore such topics as the nature of man, the roles of the family unit, or the wisdom of various governing structures if we didn’t first consider first things: What is Truth? Does God exist? What is God like? How do we come to the knowledge of something? What is the fundamental nature of reality?
Second, a sequenced modular system enhances learning by giving students focused time on each topic. Students don’t need to make regular intellectual migrations and relocations from subject matter to subject matter. Excel College’s sequenced modular curriculum is designed to host an educational environment that welcomes students to realize and reclaim the unity of knowledge through a classical approach to learning.
Course Overviews, Objectives, and Outcomes through a Two-Pronged Strategy:
At the root of every approach to education lies a determining concept (or two) from which its curricular strategy grows. And Excel College’s innovative Core Courses are no exception. Consequently, each of our twelve courses — in substance, structure, and sequencing — rests upon several philosophical and pedagogical convictions that have coalesced in our curriculum's strategic design and delivery. And without attempting to elaborate our educational philosophy here fully, two of our most basic pedagogical convictions do deserve particular comment: (1) our commitment to ‘continuity in learning’ and (2) our belief in the ‘unity of knowledge.’ The first bears fruit in our modules’ (structural) form, while the second yields a unique (substantive) flow to our entire program. Therefore, a brief word about each should help clarify the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Excel’s curricular strategy.
Our Core is structured according to a modular-based system of courses where students focus on one subject at a time. As such, they are riveted to one academic discipline at a time, allowing them to experience a continuity of learning (i.e., focused study that is free of interruption, fragmentation, and compartmentalization) that significantly enhances their prospects for academic success.
The benefits of this strategy are many. First, student assimilation of course material skyrockets as the focus narrows to a single academic subject. Second, intellectual compartmentalization diminishes as each discipline receives multi-perspectival (e.g., historical, philosophical, conceptual, etc.) treatment in the context of a single course. And third, curricular scope expands significantly as uninterrupted concentration on a single subject facilitates more advanced treatment of course material.
Substantively, the Core courses are rooted in our basic belief in the ‘unity of knowledge.’ By this, we mean that each field of human inquiry and academic investigation finds its source (and ultimate significance) in the Trinitarian God of Christian theism. Therefore, it enjoys a real and recognizable relationship with every other branch of learning. The pedagogical consequence of this conviction, we believe, is that each of the Core courses is best studied in a way that clearly illuminates the connection between each and all.
Consequently, we’ve designed our program in a ‘sequenced-modular’ format (i.e., a predetermined order of courses in which each finds its academic prerequisite[s] in all that comes before it) that enables students to see these intrinsic connections between the branches of knowledge as well as the relation of them all to the grand cosmic narrative of the Creator’s dealings with creation.
Again, the advantages of such a strategy are many. First, academic fragmentation withers as each subject finds its place in relation to all others. Second, student disillusionment with learning evaporates as they discover the relevance of each discipline to a larger story. And third, curricular coherence is maintained as each course flows naturally from its predecessors and leads necessarily to its successors. Fourth and finally, a curriculum so designed can be helpfully previewed in a single-sentence summary like the one below, arising, as it does, from our basic belief in this ‘unity of knowledge’ — the second of the two foundational convictions informing the Excel Core curricular strategy.
A One-Sentence Summary:
The (God-prescribed) Good Life is rooted in a discerning heart (Critical Thinking) shaped by God’s revelation (Theology) as the standard of all thinking (Philosophy) about the measured realities (Math) of the world we inhabit (Physics) as living Image-Bearers of God (Biology) with unique capacities (Anthropology) for creative activities (Art & Literature) and special relationships (Sociology) in ordered communities that are protected by justice (Government & Law) and structured for shalom (Economics).
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