Language Lessons, Truth, Goodness, Beauty
Classical education is rich in liberal arts. It prioritizes teaching children to appreciate truth, goodness, and beauty. Lessons are largely taught through written and spoken language. In classical education, students move through three developmental stages of language which are collectively known as the Trivium. These three stages (Grammar, Logic/Dialectic, and Rhetoric) capitalize on the strengths of students’ minds as they grow and mature. Today’s classical education weaves in the mathematical arts (known as the Quadrivium) of arithme-tic, geometry, astronomy, and music throughout the Trivium stages of a student’s career. Latin language is a major component for all stages in a classical education.
Stages of the Trivium
Grades K- 6. This is the time that is considered to build the foundation for all learning. Facts are memorized through songs, chants, and rhymes for future use during the Logic and Rhetoric states. Examples of facts memorized are latin conjugations, grammar, states and capitols, math and science, timeline events, documents from history, phonics, spelling, and information about people throughout history.
Grades 7-9. This is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect. They begin to notice that different subjects correlate to one another and how all the facts they learned in the grammar stage relate to one another. Students are encouraged to explore and ask “why” and are driven to study and understand logical arguments. The study of logic applies to writing assignments, history, science, and more. This stage of learning encourages analyzing, discussion, debate, dialogue, and reasoning.
Grades 10-12. Students are taught through the art of effective or persuasive speaking, writing, and communicating their own thoughts and ideas. The student learns “to express himself in language—how to say what he had to say elegantly and persuasively.” (Sayers, “Lost Tools”) This is commonly done through reading ad discussing many of the Great Books and taking part in what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation.”
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