Most of us know that one can win an argument but still “lose the person.” Being logically correct does not necessarily mean that we will persuade others to take action or to adopt an idea. This is why it is necessary to train students not only in logic but also in rhetoric, for rhetoric is the art of persuasive speech and writing. Leaders must know how to persuade others to follow.
After having studied the disciplines of grammar and logic (or dialectic), students spend three years studying rhetoric. Like logic in the dialectic school, rhetoric is a central or “paradigmatic” discipline—students study other traditional subjects (e.g., history, science, math, literature, foreign language), but do so from a rhetorical perspective.
Rhetoric is the art of persuasive writing and speech. Through their study of rhetoric, students learn how to speak and write with eloquence, imagination, beauty and persuasion. They spend a good deal of time practicing what they learn by writing and delivering their own speeches and presentations for various classes. Lab reports, literature papers and exam essays all make use of rhetorical skill.
As they practice using rhetoric as a tool of learning, they are becoming good communicators, and they are also learning the material that makes up their speeches. The principles of constructing effective speeches are also applied to writing. Students write many papers of various lengths in their study of various subjects.
It is this emphasis on rhetoric that sets Covenant apart from other programs. It is at this final stage of their secondary education that our students synthesize all that they have learned in their previous schooling and concentrate on becoming masters of the spoken and written word.
While rhetoric is the paradigm discipline in the Rhetoric School, students study the traditional subjects of history, science, math, literature, foreign language, music and art. They also are able to choose elective courses in a variety of subjects including drama, Greek, philosophy, painting, military history. Click here to see an overview of our Upper School Course Plan.
Our graduates go on to attend a variety of colleges and universities where they report being well prepared for their studies. Read our School Profile (the document that accompanies all transcripts sent to colleges).