Classical education research papers study the history of education and what was once know as having a "classical education". Paper Masters writes research papers on classical education frequently and we have a long history of supporting the notion of a classical education.
Today the term "classical education" often refers to a style of education that focuses on acquiring broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a career-based, vocational course of study. Traditionally, however, a classical education is one based on the system developed in the Middle Ages, based in turn on ancient Greek ideas, to form a well-rounded human being. It consisted first of the trivium and later also of the quadrivium.
The trivium consists of three parts:
- Grammar - In the grammar stage, the student learns the basics, the foundations needed for further learning.
- Logic - The logic stage involves learning to think about information and understand arguments.
- Rhetoric - In the rhetoric stage, students learn to express their own thoughts effectively.
The quadrivium consisted of four additional areas of study:
- Astronomy (what we would now call astrology)
A student who mastered the trivium and quadrivium would be ready to study philosophy and/or theology.
In modern schools, a classical education follows the learning pattern of the trivium, with modern subjects like literature added in later grades. This kind of curriculum is common in Christian schools, but many secular schools also follow it. An extension of the classical education is the "Great Books" movement, begun in the 1950s, which added modern literature to the readings of classical texts.
Classical Education Model
The classical education model is divided into three different parts. These parts are the early years, middle years, and secondary years. The purpose of the early years is to learn facts and establish a foundation for later learning. The purpose of the middle grades is that it provides a time for students to learn to think, problem solve, and reason. Finally, the purpose of the high school years is for the students to learn avenues to express their thoughts. In classical education there is a focus on language and written expression.
In the early years, or grammar stage, the foundation is set. The grammar stage usually includes first through fourth grade. During this time, instructional time is spent in memorization and learning facts. Examples include learning phonics rules, memorization of math facts, study of factual content in science and social studies, and memorizing spelling and grammar patterns.
The middle years, or logic stage, begins around the time a child is in the fifth grade. During this stage, student move from factual to more abstract thought processes. Students in this stage are able to analyze text, use the scientific method, and use logic in algebra.
Finally in the high school years, or Rhetoric Stage, students are expected to use what they learned in previous years. Students in this stage are also expected to begin focusing on a specific area of study that interests them. Students are encouraged to attend subject specific camps, study abroad, and participate in internship programs.