The essay hasn’t been banished from classically minded institutions. Rather, the more personalized, discussion-centric model of instruction by its nature renders essays a secondary tool. Students that skip their homework won’t be able to hide for long when asked to offer an opinion on last night’s reading.
For centuries, the classical curriculum was the norm, rather than the exception. In the modern era, however, the march toward factory-style education replaced the old ways with more specialized studies delivered in lecture form. Perhaps it’s time to rethink this change. The classical method survived as long as it did because it fostered critical-thinking skills that can then be applied to any category of specialized study.