AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Turning Back the Clock: The Trivium’s Rhetorical Advantages in Secondary Education

by Derek R Sherman

Institution: University of Findlay
Department: Rhetoric and Writing
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Ancient Civilizations; Classical Studies; Composition; Education; Language, Rhetoric and Composition; Pedagogy; Philosophy; Rhetoric; Classical Education, Trivium, Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric
Record ID: 2060860
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=findlay1430683059


Classical education—a language-based education that is taught through the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric)—has been a sound educational structure for thousands of years and continues to be in many private and a select few public schools. Students, educators, and parents find themselves referring back to classical education for answers because of policymakers’ inability to find a remedy to the United States’ educational issues such as illiteracy. Classical education could provide the antidote as it employs a natural scaffolding approach that builds upon students’ application of content. Additionally, classical education has created many influential leaders in fields ranging from philosophy to literature to science, thus illustrating its impact across disciplines. This educational philosophy, though, focuses on the development of language skills first, which leads students to further studies in the quadrivium. To illustrate the positive effects of a classical education, a study was conducted in a rural, public high school in Northwest Ohio on a group of thirty-four sophomore Advanced English students. The goal of this study, therefore, was to solidify that a classical education through the trivium can be implemented and successful in a rural, public high school. All state standards (i.e. Ohio’s New Learning Standards) were used to ensure all students were meeting the requirements set forth by the state of Ohio. This study dedicated twelve consecutive weeks to each stage of the trivium with small weekly assignments and a major project for each stage. Students participated in pre and post trivium surveys to determine the students’ views of classical education. Also, students completed a pretest and posttest covering all stages of the trivium to show their growth. An analysis of the results was completed for the grammar and logic stages to show why a classical education approach is best for students’ skill development.