What is Classical Education?

Classical education has been around for centuries and is still used today. But what is it, exactly?

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What is Classical Education?

Classical education is a liberal arts approach to learning that dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. In classical education, students learn by engaging with the great works of Western civilization. The goal is not simply to absorb facts and information, but to wrestle with the big questions of life and develop the ability to think critically and communicate effectively.

The guiding principle of classical education is that all knowledge is interconnected. The goal is not simply to accumulate isolated facts, but to develop a deep understanding of how different subjects interrelate. For example, in studying history, students might also learn about literature, philosophy, art, and even science. This holistic approach allows students to make connections between different disciplines and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the world around them.

The Three Pillars of Classical Education

Classical Education is founded on the three pillars of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. The goal of a classical education is to train the mind to think critically, to argue persuasively, and to communicate clearly.

The Trivium

The trivium is the three-part foundation of a classical education, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In ancient times, the trivium was considered the foundation of a good education, and was therefore taught first. Today, the trivium is often taught last, after students have been taught the basic facts and skills in the areas of math, science, and social studies.

The trivium begins with grammar, which is the study of the basic building blocks of language. Students learn about the parts of speech and how to put words together to form sentences. They also learn about the different kinds of sentence structures and how to use them for different purposes. Next comes logic, which is the study of how to think correctly and critically. Students learn how to identify fallacies and how to construct strong arguments. Finally, there is rhetoric, which is the study of how to communicate effectively. Students learn how to use language persuasively and elegantly for different purposes.

The trivium provides a well-rounded education that helps students think deeply about important ideas and communicate those ideas clearly and effectively.

The Quadrivium

The quadrivium is the mathematical part of a classical education comprising arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The word is Latin, meaning “the four ways,” and its use for this purpose was first documented in the writings of Boethius. It is sometimes considered to be a study of the empirical world. In medieval times these subjects were known as the Trivium if taught before the Quadrivium, or they were together called the Liberal Arts if taught together as they are traditionally in Christian classical education.

The Liberal Arts

The liberal arts are those disciplines that promote the free pursuit of learning for its own sake. The word “liberal” in this context comes from the Latin liber, meaning free. A liberal arts education is one that is not overly specialized, but rather seeks to develop the whole person. The liberal arts traditionally include grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

The Trivium
The trivium is the foundation of a liberal arts education. It consists of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Grammar is the study of the structure of language. It includes the rules of punctuation, spelling, and syntax. Rhetoric is the art of effective communication. It involves both speaking and writing persuasively. Logic is the study of sound reasoning. It teaches us how to think critically and find flaws in arguments.

The Quadrivium
The quadrivium builds on the foundation of the trivium. It consists of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Arithmetic is the study of numbers and their relationships. Geometry is the study of shape and space. Music is the study of sound and its effects on the human soul. Astronomy is the study of the heavens and our place in them.

The Benefits of Classical Education

A lot of people think that classical education is outdated and not relevant to the modern world. However, there are actually a lot of benefits to classical education. It teaches you how to think critically and analytically, and how to communicate effectively. It also gives you a well-rounded education that covers a broad range of subjects.

A Well-Rounded Education

A classical education is a well-rounded education that covers all areas of learning, from the liberal arts to the sciences. A student who receives a classical education will be prepared for any future profession or academic discipline.

The liberal arts are those subjects that are considered essential for a well-rounded education. They include history, literature, philosophy, art, and music. A knowledge of the liberal arts helps students to think critically and to communicate effectively.

The sciences are those subjects that deal with the physical world. They include mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. A knowledge of the sciences helps students to understand the natural world and to solve problems in a logical way.

Classical education is often compared to a “great books” approach to learning. In a classical education, students read the works of the great thinkers of history. They learn about the lives and ideas of these thinkers, and they learn how to apply these ideas to their own lives.

A classical education is not just for students who want to go on to college or university. It is also for students who want to be well-informed citizens and responsible members of society.

A Focus on the Essentials

In a classical education, students learn the essential skills and knowledge that have been passed down through the generations. They learn to read, write, and do math at a higher level than in most schools. They also study history, science, and foreign languages. The goal is to give students a well-rounded education that will prepare them for college and for life.

Classical education has been around for centuries. It was the way people were educated in ancient Greece and Rome. The first classical schools in America were founded in the early 1700s. Today, there are classical schools all over the country.

There are many benefits to a classical education. First, it teaches students how to think critically and solve problems. Second, it helps students develop a love of learning. Third, it prepares students for college and careers. Finally, it gives students a foundation for success in life.

An Emphasis on Logic and Reason

Classical education has its roots in the Latin word “classicus,” which refers to the first rank of citizens in Ancient Rome. The goal of a classical education is to create an harmonious balance between the mind, body, and soul by instilling the virtues of wisdom, justice, and courage in every student.

An emphasis on logic and reason is one of the defining features of a classical education. From a young age, students are taught how to critically analyze information and arguments. They learn to think logically and identify fallacies in reasoning. As they progress through their studies, they learn to construct sophisticated arguments of their own. This focus on logic and reasoning prepares students for success in any field, from law and medicine to business and politics.

How to Implement Classical Education in the Classroom

Classical Education provides a well-rounded curriculum that covers the liberal arts and sciences. It also teaches students how to think critically and analytically. If you are thinking of implementing Classical Education in your classroom, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Use a Core Curriculum

One of the best ways to implement classical education in the classroom is to use a core curriculum. A core curriculum is a list of essential learning materials that are meant to be covered in each subject, at each grade level. This way, you can be sure that your students are getting a well-rounded education that covers all of the important topics.

There are many different core curriculum programs available, so it’s important to do your research to find one that is aligned with your educational philosophy and goals. Once you have selected a program, be sure to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the materials so that you can effectively teach them to your students.

In addition to using a core curriculum, there are a few other things you can do to ensure that you are providing your students with a classical education. Be sure to incorporate lots of opportunities for discussion and debate in your classroom, as this is an essential part of the learning process. You should also encourage your students to ask lots of questions and think creatively about the topics they are studying.

Teach the Trivium in Order

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Encourage Socratic Discussion

Because the Socratic method of learning involves asking questions, this teaching strategy encourages students to think critically about the text they are studying. In order to prepare for these discussions, teachers will typically assign readings prior to class. During class, teachers guide the discussion by asking probing questions that encourage students to think deeply about the concepts they are exploring.

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