Rhetoric at Scholé Academy is an engaging adventure bringing an ancient art to its modern home. Our program will eventually hinge on the three-part Rhetoric Alive! program written by Dr. Alyssan Barnes, PhD (currently only books 1 and 3 have been published).
The Rhetoric 1 course targets students in grades 10–12, and offers students the opportunity to study and practice the art of rhetoric: persuasive writing and speaking. Students are introduced to the 5 canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Special attention is given to the study of invention (gathering and inventing one’s arguments), arrangement (structuring one’s arguments in a sequence of elements for maximum persuasion), and style (enhancing one’s writing with sentence and word arrangements and turns of phrase that please and delight the listener). Students also begin the study of great examples of rhetoric and learn how to “imitate the masters.” They then compose and deliver their own ceremonial and political speeches. This course equips students to speak and write persuasively with wisdom and eloquence.
Rhetoric Thesis is a capstone course, targeting 11th and 12th grade students. It prepares students to meet the challenges of college-level writing in the liberal arts tradition. The thesis paper is the culmination of classical students’ high school scholarship, as it provides an opportunity for them to showcase not only their content knowledge but also their ability to engage persuasively in “the Great Conversation.” The thesis process—from the initial stage of finding a topic to the final day of presentation—is a jungle within which many students quickly find themselves lost. This course is a step-by-step guide that leads students through the process of writing a thesis paper, helping them avoid the typical false starts and dead ends of the journey. The instructor walks alongside students as they engage in the challenging task of preparing and presenting a thoughtful, original response to an issue. Grounded in classical rhetorical theory, this course guides students through the 5 canons of rhetoric, piece by piece, as they write the 6 sections of their oration. Students will ultimately become thinkers who can combine their wit, wisdom, eloquence, reason, and ethics for future writing endeavors.
“Rhetoric: The faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.“
—Aristotle, The Rhetoric and Poetics of Aristotle