The Trivium

Have you read it? It is a bloody great book and well worth a read if you haven’t. The benefit of attending conferences like Ed Fest are that you get to meet the people behind the books or the ideas that they present.

I was beyond excited about Martin Robinson’s session for this very reason.

In some respects, what Martin is suggesting ties in with what Tom Sherrington says that

‘Without a deposit of knowledge and settled moral principles, a human being is helpless.’

Ferdinand Mountado.

Martin introduces three schools of thought:

  • Grammarian – fundamental knowledge and skills
  • Dialectic – argument
  • Rhetoric – freedom of speech.

He suggests that grammar was the first on the scene, followed by dialectic which seeks to critique the foundations established by grammar yet this leads to rhetoric and the freedom of speech or the freedom to have an opinion.


So in a unit say on British values

  • Grammar – understanding of what constitutes British values
  • Dialectic – critique of what we believe constitutes British values
  • Rhetoric – an outcome of the debate (freedom of opinion)

So doesn’t that play into the hands of a KS3 curriculum quite nicely in preparing students to be independent, active, critical readers?

In year 7 we follow the grammarian route – we establish / revisit / revise fundamental knowledge and skills.

In year 8 we teach students to critique / question / challenge.

Whilst in year 9 we build in rhetoric through analytical essays (in which they explore the foundation before critiquing it to arrive at a considered viewpoint).


Something I am going to explore over the next few weeks!

Loved, loved, loved the book and also loved, loved, loved the session.


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