The 3 Missing Ingredients: You won’t learn this in your English class

Persuasion scene from the Bayeux Tapestry, Circa 1066 CE.

Despite its uncivilized reputation, the Middle Ages had an impressive liberal arts program. Students had to take the trivium, which comprised grammar, logic, and rhetoric – all as separate courses. Today, students are expected to learn all three of these fundamentals in just one course: their English class.

In plain terms, we might define the trivium as follows:

GRAMMAR – the building blocks of language

LOGIC – “correct” reasoning, or using evidence to infer conclusions

RHETORIC – the art of persuasion.

The trivium was based on Classical learning models from Ancient Greece, and was taught through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Industrial eras.

At some point in the 20th century, it began to be taught only in specialized grammar schools. These days it is taught only in expensive preparatory schools.

Although the Western world has a literacy rate close to 100%, the quality of writing and persuasion is not as strong as it was hundreds of years ago. Trivium Unlimited is a school that wants to change that.

Why AP Language?

The Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Course is uniquely positioned to offer students the training they need to write and debate persuasively, and with the kind of sophistication that was expected of famous rhetoric practitioners whose works we still hold in high regard today. Writers and thinkers like Aristotle, Michelangelo, and George Orwell would have had a similar education in their lifetimes. They would have trained to write with precision and rhythm, to craft their arguments, and to pinpoint their audiences – all strategies that line up with the AP English Language course motto of “reading like writers and writing like readers.”