Skip to content

Using the exercises of classical rhetoric in high school…

OK, all you workshop-attendees in Texas and Georgia, here is a copy of the overhead I put up at the end of the writing lecture. (For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can get the lecture here, and/or read this, and/or buy this. I promised I’d put this on my blog so that people attending my seminar on how to teach writing didn’t have to frantically copy it down.)

Update on the History of the Medieval World coming soon, I promise.

And although I don’t usually say this, here’s a reminder: this information isn’t to be redistributed or reproduced without my permission. If I ever finish writing the History of the Whole World, I plan to produce my own high school rhetoric and composition program. (Translation: don’t hold your breath.)

A PROPOSED PATTERN FOR HIGH SCHOOL WRITING,
USING THE CLASSICAL PROGYMNASMATA

Texts: Combine these two.
Frank D’Angelo, Composition in the Classical Tradition (any edition; good clear instruction and lousy writing examples)
Edward P. J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (any edition; instruction is more advanced and more difficult for high school students, but the writing examples are light-years ahead of those in the D’Angelo book.)

Grades 9-11: exercises in technique

Ninth grade:
The narrative
The description
Amplifying a saying

Tenth grade:
Amplifying an anecdote
Refutation
Confirmation

Eleventh grade:
The enconium (composition of praise)
The invective (composition of blame)
The comparison (combination)
Supporting a thesis using confirmation
Supporting a thesis using refutation.

Grade 12: forms of writing

The response paper
The critical paper

Literature:
Argument for an interpretation
Biographical analysis
Literary analysis

History:
Argument of fact
Argument of meaning
“Historiography” argument

The research paper