School of Logic - Grades 5-8
In the second stage of a classical education, students continue to advance in skill areas and to accumulate knowledge, but more focus is placed on developing analytical thinking skills and the capacity for abstract thought, discovering relationships between fields of knowledge, and fitting knowledge into a logical framework. The logic stage is also known as the “dialectic” stage because there is more of a give-and-take conversation between students and instructors. Instructors will build upon the Socratic method of guided questions to help students learn to reason and develop conclusions.
Students in grades 5-8 are expected to demonstrate the ability to move beyond facts to integration and analysis. For instance, in the study of literature, whereas the grammar stage student is expected primarily to show comprehension through summary, the logic stage scholar is asked to interpret and evaluate how multiple elements of fiction contribute to the meaning of a text. Similarly, in mathematics, the logic-phase student is expected to recognize relationships in numerical patterns, explain relationships (e.g., equivalences and probabilities) and to distinguish between the effectiveness of problem-solving strategies for various problems and contexts. The study of science extends beyond factual presentation and rehearsals of scientific inquiry to introductory investigation and experimentation with data gathering and data analysis.
The Logic School focuses on preparing the students for the Rhetoric School versus a continuation of the Grammar School. In other words, the School of Logic is not a continuation of the elementary years, but rather a push forward in preparation for high-school.
The Logic phase involves ordering facts into organized statements and arguments. During the middle school years, students are beginning to think independently. They often develop a propensity for argument. Classical education teaches students in this phase to argue well. The study of formal logic helps students understand the fundamentals of a good argument. Practice in making written and oral arguments helps to further develop these skills. Teachers encourage the use of argumentation in each subject. Again, each subject has its own logic. In science, we use the development and testing of hypothesis. In math, we develop a student’s ability to logically orient numbers through the more abstract concepts of algebra and trigonometry.
A classical education requires more than "specific" or "classical" content. The methods used to deliver the rich content to the students are as important as the content itself that is being taught. Parnassus will implement instructional methods that have proven to be the most effective in the implementation of the classical model of education evident at the best private and public classical schools in the nation.
Because the goal of the Logic period is to begin to make logical distinctions, instructional methods used in this stage of the Trivium are those that most effectively accomplish that goal. These instructional methods include:
- Guided writing: teacher leads students in a writing assignment
- Guided problem solving: teacher leads students in solving problems in math, logic, science
- Guided oral presentations: teacher provides directions to lead students through sharing information
- Guided reading and response: teacher leads students through a text using text parsing, questioning, predictions and inferences
- Supervised independent practice: teacher monitors student work in class
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