The Trivium Arts

The Trivium Arts of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric train the Mind through language.

The Art of Grammar teaches students to problem solve. They learn to look for and identify the parts of any particular problem they might encounter. By breaking a problem into its parts they simplify its solution. For example, in Kindergarten the problem is often reading. How to decode (read) the words in their books. By breaking a word into its sounds they then can recognize a word they know. Just as important they can also identify words they do not know. This awareness allows them to increase their vocabulary. A senior in High School may be faced with comprehending a difficult passage of Scripture. By “breaking” the passage down into its syntax they then can comprehend the meaning.

Students understand the correct relationships of ideas and arguments through the Art of Logic. Whitefield trains students in both deductive and inductive logic. They learn to integrate these two components to think well.

The Art of Rhetoric trains students to communicate truth, goodness, and beauty. They communicate in their communities, through language, by persuasion. The term “rhetoric” often carries a negative sense in contemporary culture. At Whitefield, rhetoric is about the good, true, and beautiful. Quintilian defines rhetoric as “a good man speaking well.” The use of language to manipulate or abuse others is never rhetoric in the classical sense in which we use it. Manipulation is coercive. Classical rhetoric is participatory.

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