There may be no more important challenge before our school’s faculty than the one that seeks to shape our students into wise and eloquent citizens. And there may be no more difficult task than creating environments where students can identify reasoned thinking while seeking to persuade others with civility and grace. Certainly our society is in desperate need of both. It is not enough for us to wish our own students to grow intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally; we want them to foster similar growth in all of society. Perhaps an excerpt from former Head of School, Dr. Robert Littlejohn’s book, Wisdom and Eloquence, sums it up best:
“Rarely do we connect the things we teach them (students) every day with their responsibilities to seek the greater good and to draw their friends and neighbors after them. How will our students use language to benefit their neighbors? Will words and the ideas embodied in them come easily, or will our students simply be good men and women, possessing discernment but without the capacity to benefit those around them through appropriate speech and noble deeds?”
By training our students in the Linguistic Arts, Trinity truly believes that its graduates have a distinct advantage in the world that awaits them after graduation. This advantage is not simply for their own good but is for the more noble cause of transforming all of society for the better.
Students are exposed to inductive logical thinking by learning to recognize fallacies in advertisements, movies, speeches and literature. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate the ability to recognize 40 logical “tricks” and “errors” used by advertisers, politicians and all who seek to persuade. Additionally, each student will demonstrate the ability to put together a sound argument with no logical fallacies. Dinner time conversation will never be the same once your child completes a course in Logic as they enjoy pointing out their parent’s and sibling’s flawed thinking!
Text: The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, Larsen and Hodge
Using methods such as Socratic dialogue, small group discussion, and didactic instruction, students are welcomed into the world of formal, deductive logic. Students of formal logic explore how an argument is put together and structured. Logic games and puzzles, along with real world application, are all a part of this dynamic learning environment.
Text: The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, Larsen and Hodge
This course focuses on using the skills of rhetoric to build a logical, persuasive and effective oral argument. Students study argumentation models, practice debate skills, and participate in mock trials. By the end of the course, students will be able to frame persuasive arguments, analyze the role of argument for Christian orators, and become successful oral advocates for truthful ideals.
Text: Strategic Debate, McGraw
This course focuses on providing students the tools they need to build compelling and persuasive arguments. All teenagers long to make strong arguments for their positions, and this course enables them to do that. Taught by an enthusiastic instructor, students enjoy crafting solid defenses for sound thinking. As a foundation for each student’s senior thesis project the following year, Rhetoric II is put to practical use as students write and present a thesis before faculty advisors and the student body at the end of their senior year. This is truly a capstone experience for all who attend Trinity.
Text: The Argument Builder, Classical Academic Press