The classical model of education is based on the trivium (Latin for ‘three ways’), in which students learn three interrelated skills: memory, logic, and persuasion (or grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, as they are historically named). This model corresponds to a child’s natural developmental stages of learning:


  • Memory (Grammar): In this stage (K-5) children are imaginative and creative. Their innate joy for learning language, songs, chants, and poetry drives the teaching methods used in grammar classrooms.


  • Logic (Dialectic): The logic stage (6-8) capitalizes on a child’s desire to question and debate. The logic classroom engages the process of learning to argue well and to evaluate and critique arguments effectively.

  • Persuasion (Rhetoric): The persuasion stage (9-12) pulls all three stages together. Students learn the art of persuasion both in writing and speech.  

In each stage, all three elements of the trivium are present; greater emphasis is placed on either memory, logic, or persuasion in the corresponding developmental stages. Classical education places an importance on the interconnection of all knowledge. 

As Christopher Perrin explains, "The chief goal of classical education is to master the tools of grammar, logic, and rhetoric - for in mastering the tools, the subject (any subject) is soon mastered as well. Students have been taught how to learn."