Rhetoric Thesis: For purposes of clarity, this course should not only be considered for high school seniors, but also for any student wanting to write a substantial thesis and corresponding speech for delivery.
Rhetoric Thesis 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 course 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 five canons of rhetoric, piece by piece, as they write the 6 sections of their oratio. Students will ultimately become thinkers who can combine their wit, wisdom, eloquence, reason, and ethics for future writing endeavors. Rhetoric Thesis 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.”
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 oratio. Students will ultimately become thinkers who can combine their wit, wisdom, eloquence, reason, and ethics for future writing endeavors.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
- Students should have a working knowledge and familiarity with the informal fallacies (a good preparation would be Scholé Academy’s Informal Logic course or The Art of Argument text).
- Students should be able to apply the principles of formal argument construction (along the lines of Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic course or The Discovery of Deduction text; also, Scholé Academy’s Persuasive Writing course or The Argument Builder text).
- Students must have completed Rhetoric 1 or an equivalent course studying the nature of rhetoric for the modern student; the common topics; the rhetoric processes of invention, arrangement, and style; and a wide range of schemes and tropes.
- Students enrolling in this course should also be proficient in the use of MLA writing standards, employing those standards consistently in their own writing when necessary. This style manual is widely accepted for college students and academics, and beginning to adhere to writing standards is essential for college-bound students.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in speech and debate, composition, or language arts.
This course is suitable for high school students, and particularly (although not exclusively) for 12th graders. To be successful in this course, you will need to have a few pre-requisite skills. Make sure each of these descriptions is true of you. If you aren’t sure, let’s talk, and I can help make sure the course will be a good fit.
- Reads at or above a tenth-grade level.
- Composes essays with confidence
- Successfully completed Rhetoric I through Scholé Academy or has comparable experience in classical rhetoric
- Listens, take notes, and is willing to engage in group discussions (extroversion not required!)
- Capable of guided, independent reading and research
- Types sufficiently well to transcribe a lengthy essay without frustration
- Possesses basic computer skills—browsing, accessing assignments, scanning, e-mailing, and managing files
- Has the intellectual and spiritual maturity to entertain opinions that are contrary to his or her own established beliefs
Q: Why do students need a thesis?
A: Dr. Alyssan Barnes, author of the Rhetoric Alive! series, addresses this question in her article From Sophomore to Senior: Why Students Need the Senior Thesis.
At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
Students should have a working knowledge and familiarity with the informal fallacies (a good preparation would be Scholé Academy’s Informal Logic course or The Art of Argument text).
Students should be able to apply the principles of formal argument construction (along the lines of Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic course or The Discovery of Deduction text; also, Scholé Academy’s Persuasive Writing course or The Argument Builder text).
Students must have completed Rhetoric 1 or an equivalent course studying the nature of rhetoric for the modern student; the common topics; the rhetoric processes of invention, arrangement, and style; and a wide range of schemes and tropes
Rhetoric Alive! Senior Thesis: Student Workbook: ISBN-13: 978-1600513572
Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: ISBN-13: 978-0761563518
Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay: ISBN-13: 978-1932236453; ISBN-10: 1932236457
*Optional, Supplementary Texts:
Writing with Clarity and Style: 2nd Edition ISBN-13: 978-1138560093; ISBN-10: 113856009X
Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and a Life Well Lived: ISBN-13: 978-0525573326
MLA Handbook, 8th Edition ISBN-13: 978-1603292627; ISBN-10: 1603292624**
Turabian Handbook, 9th edition ISBN-13: 978-0226430577: ISBN-10: 022643057X**
APA Handbook, 7th edition ISBN-13: 978-1433832734: ISBN-10: 433832739**
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
**Different subjects require different citation methods. Depending on what topic the students individually chooses, I will show them the appropriate citation methods. Once the student decides on a particular method, I will recommend they purchase that book, however it is not required.
Andy Newman calls western Nebraska home, that borderland where Midwest and West shake hands. There he has taught literature, composition, history, journalism, and the humanities for twenty years at the high school and college levels. His mind and heart have longed been pulled toward classical Christian education. And he is as excited as he is thankful to now be fully in its orbit and looks forward to working with students in the humanities, rhetoric, and logic.
His education is varied, having earned master’s degrees in history and English from the University of Wyoming and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, respectively. Most recently, he earned a MTh in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies and a MA in Biblical Theology from John Paul the Great Catholic University and, in Fall of 2021, completed his coursework for the PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University and has moved onto the dissertation. A tonsured Reader, he is involved in parish ministry at Assumption Orthodox Christian Church, in Bayard, Nebraska, and is in the process to be ordained to the priesthood. firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
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Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
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Make sure they don't conflict with other activities in your schedule or other courses you are purchasing. Our system will not catch double-bookings!
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.