Aristotle on Rhetoric

Over the years I have been intermittently interested in the Trivium as a way of helping students to think in a linear manner. Anyone dealing with this medieval division and taxonomy of knowledge will quickly come into contact with Scholasticism, and, working backward chronologically, Aristotle. I still haven’t decided if a teacher could or should return to medieval categories of knowledge, but I do think there is a case to be made for teaching rhetoric in high school English Language Arts class.

Because I have some old-fashioned ideas about the equality of opportunity in society, I have made working in struggling, inner-city schools my office for my entire career. Last November, I made the move from one of these schools in New York City to one in Springfield, Massachusetts. One of the first documents to cross my purview in the service of a student was a writing assignment for a work of fiction in an English Language Arts class. My talented colleague, and I thank her for this, asked her students to use one of three rhetorical strategies in this assignment. It was a treat to see.

Anyway, along the way in trying to develop instructional materials related to rhetoric, I transcribed the gravamen of Aristotle’s analysis of rhetoric (from this edition of his treatise) for use in planning a unit on the it. If you can use it, there is a several-page Word document under that hyperlink

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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