Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
Why Learn Rhetoric?
Rhetoric is the art of writing and speaking well and, more importantly, writing and speaking persuasively. Rhetoric teaches us how to be persuasive and how to compose successful arguments. In an age in which we are bombarded with an increasing amount of words, words, words, rhetoric can guide us as we cut through the clutter of informational noise to get our point across to others. We are more engaged in communication than any other generation before while we are less prepared to process or refute that communication. Why does the message from one politician resonate while another falls flat? Why do certain images, memes, or songs go viral while others disappear without a trace? The rhetoric used by public figures shapes our conversations. Learning to decode the messages thrown at us daily is essential if we want to participate in that conversation.
Rhetoric teaches the essential skills required in higher education and in life: learning to think logically, to analyze arguments for flaws, to build a good case on any topic under discussion, and to deliver well-prepared speeches. These are skills that will give students confidence in any situation.
Learn Rhetoric at The Lukeion Project - now a 2 semester course
"Dear Ms. Baty, I want to thank you for the fall Rhetoric class you taught. I'm looking at the Rubric and Chief Reader Report for the AP English Language and Composition exam (which I will be self-studying for this year), and so many of the skills and concepts reflect exercises we did in Rhetoric class.
They tell me to recognize that not everything is a yes or no matter, take into account the intended audience and desired response, analyze and account for biases, recognize "methods of communication" (rhetorical modes), and consider rhetorical devices apart from ethos/pathos/logos and figures of speech... which are all things that I have at least some experience with, now. Thank you for all your instruction and I hope it'll help me do well on the exam!" - 2019 Rhetoric Student
Because of our focus on the ancient world at The Lukeion Project, students will engage with both classical and contemporary sources. Students will cover ancient authors while applying them to today’s forms of communication. Our live meetings will give plenty of opportunity to practice public speaking skills and receive feedback. We use high-quality software, Adobe Connect and Canvas LMS, which allow students to work together in groups synchronously online.
Students should be able to comfortably read around 30 pages per week and have strong grammar skills. Students should be reading and writing at the high school level. They should also have an interest in current affairs or be willing to develop one. Above all, they must be willing to prepare and give speeches in the classroom. 4-5 short analysis or argumentative papers will be assigned. There will be a short quiz each week, but the bulk of the grade will come from speeches and the papers. Students must have a headset microphone.
Semester 1 of Rhetoric will focus on learning the basics of classical rhetoric. We’ll read from our textbook, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Corbett, as well as from The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle. We’ll learn the five canons and begin writing short papers and delivering short speeches. We’ll also analyze some of the great rhetoricians in history, ancient and modern. Students will need to take an interest in current affairs as we will have the chance to look at the rhetoric of the US presidential campaign this semester.
Semester 2 will build on the basic skills from semester 1 as students will continue to give speeches and write persuasive papers. We’ll read other Classical works on rhetoric and bring in more rhetorical works, both ancient and modern, to analyze. We’ll also look at visual rhetoric, which plays a powerful role in media today. We will also analyze how modern forms of communication have affected the use of Classical rhetoric.
Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student 4th edition. Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors 978-0195115420 (It’s an older book so please look to buy used or rent.)
Learners must take notes during the live session and while reading assigned passages. Learners should keep an organized notebook and recopy class notes after each session.
Lukeion Rhetoric Students will:
1. Complete weekly reading assignments
2. Take online quizzes
3. Submit short papers as assigned
5. Prepare and deliver speeches as assigned
4. Attend the live session once a week, and participate by asking great questions and offering opinions and answers when asked.
Class meets Tuesdays at 4 PM ET.
R. Baty, instructor
Lewis had developed a trademark style, slow enough for note taking, loud enough to rouse the dullest listener, straightforward, abundantly furnished with quotations, and lavish in wit.”
― Philip Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams