The South Campus Serials – 10.2.20

From your south campus principal, Grant Bickell

By this point in the year you know that there are three stages in our school – Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. You have heard these words at your interview, at the school, and generally in life but what do they really mean? Over the next few weeks we will talk about the individual beauty of each of the stages of Classical Education. Today, we talk about where this idea got started in the first place.

Twenty-six years ago in Moscow, ID a man named Douglas Wilson started the Association of Classical, Christian Studies and the classical education resurgence as we know it today began. He got his idea for this style of education from an essay by Dorothy Sayers called The Lost Tools of Learning (download the PDF here – https://bit.ly/30rOF1E). In her essay, Ms. Sayers goes through how education should happen, in her opinion, and how we begin to recover the “lost tools” of the greatest civilizations. She proposes that learning for a child could be found in three distinct stages – Poll-Parrot, Pert, and Poetic.

  • Learning in the Poll-Parrot stage is done through, “observation and memory” as they, “are the faculties most lively at this period.”
  • In the Pert stage the student learns best through “Discursive Reason.” That’s right, we teach your kids to learn by arguing.
  • Lastly, education in the Poetic stage is defined by a study of rhetoric where the, “doors of the storehouse of knowledge should now be thrown open for them to browse about as they will.”

We will talk about each of these stages in the next few weeks by referring to them as the stages of Grammar (Poll-Parrot), Dialectic (Pert), and Rhetoric (Poetic) but for now we continue with where all of the came frome.

Maybe you think in this moment, ‘Surely Ms. Sayers did not come up with this idea out of thin air.’ You are right. She was an Oxford grad that looked back at Medieval education and saw that which they had done beautifully. She took those influences and saw they looked back even farther into the past to the very founding of Rome and Greece and to the creation of the world. Let us leave it here for now with the parting words of Dorothy’s essay:

“For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”

Special Note

Each year we ask for parent input on how long homework and home days are taking you. See below for the links:

South Trad: https://bit.ly/3n9H0Py

South Blended: https://bit.ly/3l2JwVN

South Dialectic: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6acZUkfYYdOUM3EgNjhy-LPt9pfMSXfe6ZSLqXW0KAMZWsw/viewform?usp=sf_link

All surveys need to be turned in by October 14.

Upcoming Events:

  • October 7 Spirit Day. House Meetings.
  • October 9 JCL Cartaman. District-wide at Midtown. JCL is the Junior Classical League and is the Latin Club for our dialectic and rhetoric students. The club meets on a regular basis through the year and competes in a couple of tournaments. This is an “in-house” tournament for JCL members from within our school district.
  • October 13 Chapel. Formal Day.
  • October 14 Mornings with Mom. Hosted by Culture and Events (Rachel Cole), mothers of students will come to the school with their student before school starts (starting at 7:15) and have breakfast with their students and other moms and students. Hosted in the gym. If you are a mom at the school, you are encouraged to go have a treat with your student at the early end of this event so you can be in your classroom as your students arrive.
  • October 14 Last Day of First Quarter.
  • October 15-16 FALL BREAK – NO SCHOOL.
  • October 19 Chapel. Formal Day.
  • October 19-22 Standardized Testing Week. Stanford 10 National Tests. Details and instructions will be given prior to the test week. NO HOMEWORK.
  • October 23 – Teacher Inservice (NO SCHOOL – this is a change)


House Verse – This month we are memorizing Romans 12:12 as part of our yearly study on the Fruit of the Spirit. If they memorize it and recite it to Mr. Bickell, they will receive 5 House Points.