How to educate for wisdom and virtue (video interview with Dr. David Diener)

Today we are reviewing the tape of a 2019 interview with Dr. David Diener, headmaster of Hillsdale Academy and professor of education at Hillsdale College. In his dual role of school leader and scholar, Dr. Diener brings a unique perspective to the work of K-12 classical education, in that the understands first-hand how practitioners and scholars can collaborate to the mutual benefit of both. 

Dr. Diener also provides some good advice to parents seeking to determine what kind of school is best for their children. He begins with the end in mind: “all education has a goal for the kind of person a child is to become…and a school will affect that outcome. The goal of classical education is to turn out students who are virtuous and wise.” (Reminds us of David Brooks’ reflections of resume virtues compared to eulogy virtuesnamely, the characteristics you’d present for your next job interview, as compared with those you’d like mentioned at your funeral.) 

Though obtaining virtue and wisdom is admittedly a tall order, it’s worth reflecting on how character is to be taughtand caught. As our friends at the Jubilee Centre like to say, the virtues that characterize a distinctly human form of life influence how we think and act in the particular situations that confront us.” 

So, take a look at the interview with Dr. Diener, and let us know your thoughts (comments below) on how virtue and wisdom can recovered as the ultimate ends of education. 


VIRTUE is the flagship publication of the Institute for Classical Education. It disseminates stories, ideas, research and experiences in classical education to readers across the nation, helping them to pursue the classical ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Subscribing to VIRTUE's mailing list is absolutely free.

VIRTUE Magaizine Issue 08

Sign up today for your copy and join 25,000+ teachers, leaders, and friends of K-12 Classical education.