Christ Classical Academy adopted the classical model of education in 2000. Classical education has been around for millenniums and has produced many great thinkers throughout history; in fact, both Aristotle and Socrates classically educated their students.
Therefore, classical education is not a trend but is a tried and true methodology with proven results. Classical education is divided into three stages (the trivium) based on age and development: Grammar Stage, Logic Stage, and Rhetoric Stage.
“The primary difference between modern education and classical education is that classical education prepares students to influence the world by teaching them HOW to think and HOW to persuade, while modern education teaches students WHAT to think and WHAT to believe.”
Students in the Grammar Stage are eager learners and are able to memorize easily. This is the stage of learning where a strong foundation of factual information is being built.
Age: Pre-K-5th/6th Grades
Definition: Gathering of facts & knowledge
Focus: Gaining information
Methods: Repetition, music (rhythm), memorization, and competition
Goal: To discover
Action: To know
Big Picture: Knowledge
Students in the Logic Stage have a strong foundation of knowledge and are now ready for abstract thought. The Socratic Method (teaching without making statements and instead are asking questions) is employed in the Logic Stage and demands students engagement and participation leading to learning through self-discovery. Students in this stage are starting to look at the world around them and ask questions about the facts they have been taught.
Age: 6th/7th-9th Grades
Definition: Comparing of known facts to other facts (even unknown)
Focus: Arranging information (making relationships)
Method: Questions (Socratic Method)
Goal: To reason (define)
Action: To compare
Big Picture: Understanding
The last stage of the classical trivium is the Rhetoric Stage. Rhetoric, characterized by wisdom, is the final application of knowledge and understanding. In this final stage, students are ready to learn to use language, both verbal and written, in a persuasive and eloquent manner. Rich discussion, engaging debate, and rigorous research are all hallmarks of the Rhetoric Stage.
Age: 10th-12th Grades
Definition: Judgment (conviction) to apply (and to help others apply)
Focus: Explaining information
Methods: Argument, persuasion, debate
Action: To explain
Big Picture: Wisdom