Lost Tools of Writing 2 (LTW)

The Lost Tools of Writing is a course in classical rhetoric. We strive to gently introduce students to the language of the classical tradition so that when they read great books by authors like Aristotle, Shakespeare, etc. there is no language barrier. The Lost Tools of Writing lays foundations for every kind of writing and even speech in the persuasive essay. Writers who internalize the tools in Level One spend the rest of their lives applying and adapting them to different contexts, essay forms, poems, stories, or any specific instructor’s requirements. Students learn stylistic techniques that they apply to reading and writing poetry; they cultivate a narrative sense to help them write stories; they practice gathering and evaluating testimony, the root of every form of research. Every essay practices logic, debate, and public speaking.

Description

  • Instructor: Rachel Ku
  • Course Length: Two Semesters
  • Type of Class: Group Class through HEART Academy
  • When: Fridays, 1:45-3:00 pm, Period 4
  • Class Fee Payable to Mentor/Teacher: $75 / month
  • Materials Fee: $20 one time only
  • Credit Classification: 10 Credits of English or Rhetoric
  • Questions: Rachel Ku

Prerequisite: Any student in 9th grade who has completed two years of Level One or in 10th grade or higher who has completed at least one year of Level One is ready for Level Two. (“Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast” -Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet).To optimize their use of Lost Tools of Writing: Level Two, students need to know the basics of grammar, including parts of speech, punctuation, and sentence construction. A student who can write a paragraph independently from scratch can learn and use the tools in this curriculum. Students also need to be familiar with Level One. A student who knows how to use the common topics, knows the elements of a persuasive essay outline, and knows the schemes and tropes from Level One can learn and use the tools in this curriculum. Students studying a foreign language, with a rich reading background, and who participate in discussions about books will find LTW aligns with and enriches their experiences.

Course Description:

The Lost Tools of Writing is a course in classical rhetoric. We strive to gently introduce students to the language of the classical tradition so that when they read great books by authors like Aristotle, Shakespeare, etc. there is no language barrier. The Lost Tools of Writing lays foundations for every kind of writing and even speech in the persuasive essay. Writers who internalize the tools in Level One spend the rest of their lives applying and adapting them to different contexts, essay forms, poems, stories, or any specific instructor’s requirements. Students learn stylistic techniques that they apply to reading and writing poetry; they cultivate a narrative sense to help them write stories; they practice gathering and evaluating testimony, the root of every form of research. Every essay practices logic, debate, and public speaking.

Rhetoric is a liberating art, equipping the student for self-governance, and making him a free person– that is, one able to make decisions and be responsible for them. Rhetoric is not a subject, but the truck from which the branches of learning grow. Each branch requires the topics of invention, the skills of arrangement, and the tools of elocution. For example, the scientist, lawyer, minister, business owner, school board member, and parent all depend on the ability to wisely compare and define things, and then to arrange and communicate their insights to others. Classical rhetoric offers three kinds of address drawn from daily life and refined for the classical curriculum. Every day we make decisions about past and future actions, and every day we celebrate or mourn. Aristotle showed that there are three corresponding kinds of rhetoric: Judicial address– concerned with making decisions about what has been done in the past, Deliberative address– concerned with making decision about what might be done in the future, and Ceremonial address– concerned with praising or blaming, used at events like funerals or weddings. In LTW II, you will learn the judicial address.

The Lost Tools of Writing I teaches students how to read and how to make decisions. It teaches them the tools but does not expect them to use the tools perfectly. LTW II teaches students the tools with even greater depth, and it introduces them to the standards of criteria for the judgments they make. Students who learned how to ask good questions in LTW I are learning how to find the best answers in LTW II. On a more practical level, LTW I teaches students how to write persuasive essays in general. LTW II teaches the judicial address, a particular kind of persuasive essay. As mentioned above, it teaches how to make decisions but it also gives them criteria for making good decisions.

The judicial address teaches students how to think in two modes: imaginative and strategic. Your students imaginatively enter a historical or literary situation in which they generate a judicial issue (i.e. they charge a character with a crime). Additionally, because different writers’ different goals lead them to discover different things, students enter imaginatively into two contrary roles that pursue opposite goals: the prosecutor and the defense. After building an honest case for each side, they choose and address a specific audience (we use the terms “audience” and “judge” interchangeably).

When a student develops a judicial address, he must meet two challenges: to prove that somebody should or should not be punished, and to overcome the judge’s bias. To meet these challenges, a case must be compellingly presented and the bias must be identified and removed. Students who accomplish these two objectives have written a successful address.

Strategy of a judicial address: Students will…

Seek to show that a defendant should or should not be punished. First they need to persuade themselves, then an audience. To do so, they ask three general questions:

● Is there enough evidence to indicate that the defendant did what he is accused of having done?

● If the defendant did what he was accused of, did he break a rule?

● If the defendant broke a rule, why did he do it? Was he justified? Did he have an excuse?

Together, those three questions are given a technical title: stasis theory. Each question has a corresponding Latin legal name:

An sit: whether he did it

Quid sit: whether he broke a rule (Lit. What is it?)

Quale sit: whether or not it was justified (Lit. What kind (of action) is it?)

Because it is so important to achieve justice, and so difficult to avoid injustice, the prosecution bears the burden of proof, while the defense only needs to demonstrate that the prosecution has not borne that burden to its conclusion. Practically, this means that the prosecutor must resolve all three stasis questions while the defense need expose the weakness in only one. The students’ specific strategies are determined by the side they choose to argue.

Students apply stasis across the three canons learned in LTW I in the following 12 steps across the three canons:

Invention

1. Express the issue.

2. Complete invention for the prosecution.

3. Sort the “P” column (“P” stands for prosecution…the first two judicial addresses follow the ANI pattern established in LTW I).

4. Conduct a friendly evaluation of P to select three compelling arguments for the prosecution.

5. Conduct a hostile evaluation of P to attempt to undercut the case for the prosecution.

Arrangement

6. Select the side to argue.

7. Identify an audience/judge.

8. Refine the elements.

9. Generate an outline.

Elocution

10. Write the address using complete sentences.

11. Learn new tools of Elocution.

12. Refine expression with learned tools of Elocution.

Sequences and Schedules:

The Lost Tools of Writing Level II follows a three week sequence. Each address (which includes one lesson from each of the three canons) takes three weeks and assumes the student is completing the required work at home. Our material will cover 24 weeks of instruction, and leaves room to slow down, review, and redo lessons as needed.

Curriculum:

Reading list will be e-mailed in the summer.

Lost Tools of Writing Level Two- Student Workbook available for $27 from Circe Institute: https://www.circeinstitute.org/products?term_node_tid_depth%5B0%5D=44

Optional resource: Lost Tools of Writing Level Two- Teacher Guide available for $47.

Evaluation and Assessment:

I will assess the student’s work each week in class, and collect their judicial address every three weeks. I will give them specific feedback on what they are doing well and how to take the next step in improvement. Each semester, I will give the parent an evaluation of the student’s work that includes class attendance and participation, consistent effort and improvement, and the parent can assign a letter grade if required for transcript.

Contacting the teacher

E-mail rachku@gmail.com