Great Works Academy takes place in secondary schools throughout Slovakia. It consists of two parts: an online library and discussion-based seminars. 7-15-member student groups talk about specific great works and important topics they open. Teacher guides students' discussions following Academy's methodology.
Why was the program created?
At the time of information, political and environmental challenges, it is not enough for young people to navigate their lives with learnt information - they need to build skills to help them make good life choices in relationships, approach to work and their future.
Great works such as Tolstoy’s stories or Rembrandt’s paintings contain stories that reflect human experience and open vital topics of life, universal to every person. Through them, a man reflects on his own experiences and becomes more sensitive to his own beliefs. The discussion with peers then helps him formulate and abrade them, but also build empathy. In this way, it forms his mind and character.
Where does it come from?
Great Works Academy builds on the educational format of Collegium of Anton Neuwirth, established in 2009 in Ivanka pri Dunaji near Bratislava, Slovakia, as an educational program for university students.
For over 10 years Collegium has been organizing a summer university for high school students, and during its existence it has grown to include a range of different educational activities for different groups of young people. Great Works Academy is the College's largest program and reaches beyond its patronage.
Great Works Academy
helps young people
grow in virtue
Together with Aristotle, Tolkien or Rembrandt, students explore important moral values and reflect on them while shaping their own character.
Instead of memorizing data, students are encouraged to formulate their own thoughts and analyze different arguments.
Deep study of the great works allows students to concentrate better - a skill which helps the greatest ideas and innovations to form and emerge.
read with comprehension
Students are guided to understand the meaning of the text so that they can independently evaluate the content.
Virtuous young people longing for wisdom and beauty
By searching for answers to the important questions in life and studying the great works and stories of our western civilization enable high school students to better understand themselves and the world and motivate them to become the heroes of their own amazing stories.
Reading, watching or listening to the great work
Reflection on the work and big questions it opens
Guided discussion with the other students
Teacher as a guide
The program runs at high schools throughout Slovakia. We work with outstanding teachers at these schools, who care about complex development of their students and the improvement of Slovak educational system.
During the school year, the guide (teacher) organises 25 seminars (90 minutes) to which students come prepared to talk about the great work they studied and reflected upon.
The role of the guide is to help students navigate during their discussions on the big questions and topics within and beyond the great work.
Benefits for students
With its content and form, Great Works Academy mitigates the impact of unregulated Internet culture - it helps young people to study and think independently, evaluate arguments and situations and better express their own viewpoints.
Through the great works, students explore the great ideas, they exercise critical and analytical thinking, empathy, as well as consistent work with text, music, film and artwork.
The great works help them to discover beauty and give value to the cultural heritage of western civilization.
Why is the program relevant?
As humans we often ask crucial questions to which don't find answers in our daily lives.
What does it mean to be happy? What is justice? Is democracy the best political system? Is beauty subjective?
The great works in Academy are chosen for their universality and timelessness. They play an important role on our journey of exploring the important questions of humanity.
We're facing several negative trends in Slovak education
Young people cannot think critically and independently
The ability of high school students to read with understanding is far below average compared to other countries OECD
Students are losing capacity to focus on educational activities
The current education system does not offer solutions or remedy of this situation, on the contrary: students are required to memorize facts, but not to learn how to think.
We believe that the personal approach of a teacher to his students, the discussion with the classmates, and the content that shapes the mind and the character are the best tools for educating today's young people.
By reflecting on important works of our civilization, a young person trains both his or her mind and heart, thus enriching his or her life and becoming more capable of making good life choices and positively influence his surroundings.
Teachers of Great Works Academy are the ambassadors of this approach. Their task is not to teach by the means of a conventional lecture, but to organize seminars with their students, to moderate the discussion and to bring students to the ideas and questions in the great work.
We are a team of enthusiasts
for good quality education.
Our combined professional backgrounds and academic qualifications from Slovak and foreign universities inspire us to approach young people with respect and share with them the best of what we have been given. In line with the mission and vision of Great Works Academy, we're consistently educating ourselves and seek to work and live with integrity.