Classical Education

Simple and Expounded Definitions here

Many have found themselves struggling to remember what it was that they must have learned during many years of excellent, improperly focused, yet rigorous public school education. Perhaps, they found themselves drowning in a sea of subjects, managed to reach the edge to safety, but failed to understand how they got there. Herein lies the greatest frustration with modern education, as the “art of learning” has been lost. Modern education fails to ingrain the method of learning by which the skills of using critical thinking, effective arguing, and expressing valid conclusions are successfully used.

    In comparison to modern educational practices, we examine the utilization of the forgotten “Mediaeval” scheme of education, consisting of the Trivium and the Quadrivium. Let’s speak to the preliminary discipline - the Trivium. This educative process was broken into three distinguishable parts: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. The Trivium focuses on a specific order for the educative process beginning with learning the structure of a language - Grammar. Secondly, in the Dialectic stage, a student would learn how to use the language by defining terms, making valid statements, and constructing strong arguments by embracing Logic and Disputation. Finally, embarking upon the discipline of Rhetoric, a student would learn how to express composed thoughts with elegant ease and confident persuasion.

    While there may be an urge to define the three parts of the Trivium as “subjects”, they are simply the methods of dealing with “subjects.” There is always a need for a subject for which to practice the theory of Grammar. This method of education lends more to the “gathering-together of material” rather than a distinction of subjects. Committing useful material to memory, so as to hone the skills of observation and memorization, are foundational to discursive reasoning. This process applies with any or all integrated subjects. While subjects supply the “material’ for which these processes are practiced, the Dialectic stage should reveal that all branches of knowledge are inter-related. In it’s conclusion, the Trivium has trained the mind to conquer any specialized “subject”, as the student has now the proper tools to understand that all “subjects” stand in subordinate relation to all the mental training. The integration of subjects, providing a broad range of memorization and critical thinking skills, collectively becomes the stone, upon which we sharpen our sword.

        ~Written by April Lipsky

Simple and Expounded Definitions here

Inspired by Dorothy Sayers’ “The Lost Tools of Learning” -  a speech she first presented at Oxford in 1947

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A Classical Christian Education