In the classical model of education, the learning process is separated into three stages of learning: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These stages together are referred to as the “trivium.” During the grammar stage or elementary years, the building blocks are laid to provide students with foundational knowledge in all subject matter. The focus is on gathering information as students learn the skills needed to comprehend the information that they are being taught. As students enter the middle school years or “logic”stage they are going beyond basic comprehension skills and are being asked to delve deeper. They are shown ways to make comparisons, to examine cause and effect, and to answer the question of “why?” During this stage, teachers help them to see how different fields of study relate to one another and instruct them in making logical connections. In the final stage of “rhetoric,” which coincides with the high school years, students are guided in the art of purposeful and meaningful self expression. They are taught how to write and speak with clarity, focus, and originality.
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